BI warns of ‘fake age’ modus by traffickers, illegal recruiters
MANILA, Philippines — Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Tuesday reminded Filipinos aspiring to work abroad not to fall prey to the modus operandi of traffickers and illegal recruiters.
Morente issued the reminder after two women were recently barred from leaving the country for misrepresenting their age.
The two women, aged 19 and 20, were intercepted at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 as they attempted to board their flight to Dubai en route to their final destination, Saudi Arabia.
The passengers presented valid passports, visas, job contracts and overseas employment certificates, but the birth dates in their documents were intentionally altered to make it appear that they meet the age requirement for household service workers which is 23.
Both initially claimed that they were 26 years old, but eventually admitted their real age during questioning, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.
The women claimed they were kept by their handlers in a safe house in Paco, Manila for two months before being booked for their flight.
The BI’s port operations division and travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) profiles and inspects departing passengers to ensure that no underage overseas workers are able to leave.
TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said that the women recounted how they were briefed and taught by their recruiters how to respond to questions from immigration officers.
“We’ve heard this in the past. Usually victims would be briefed few days before their flight. But now they’re actually housed for months to train them on how to evade immigration questioning,” Barizo said.
Morente urged overseas workers to transact only with legitimate agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
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