BI rescues 6 ‘trafficking victims’ bound for Lebanon at Iloilo airport

Bureau of Immigration (File photo by ALEXIS CORPUZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers have intercepted at the Iloilo International Airport six suspected female trafficking victims, who are trying to fly to Lebanon to work as domestic helpers.

The BI reported Wednesday that the women were stopped at the departure area of the Iloilo airport last Dec. 1 as they were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Hongkong where they would board their connecting flight to Beirut and work there as household service workers without the appropriate overseas work permits.

According to Ma. Timotea Barizo, the overall supervisor of BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), the trafficking attempt was foiled after they were tipped by an informant.

The victims admitted during interview that they were going to that Middle Eastern country without the necessary work permits.

The women also claimed that a certain “Alfred” facilitated the processing of their travel documents and that they were promised that their work visas would be handed to them upon their arrival in Beirut.

All of them were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking-Region VI for assistance and further investigation, the bureau noted.

Following the trafficking attempt, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated his appeal to the public to report possible cases of human trafficking.

“The IACAT 1343 action-line is a very valuable tool in preventing human trafficking. We urge our fellow Filipinos to call and report so the council may investigate and rescue these poor victims who are duped by traffickers and illegal recruiters,” said Morente.

Edited by KGA