BI nabs 3 potential victims of human trafficking
MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) have foiled another human trafficking attempt with the interception of three women who were illegally recruited to work as bar girls in Hong kong.
The bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) said the women were intercepted on Friday morning at Naia Terminal 1 as they were about to board a Hong Kong airlines flight.
The women attempted to leave as tourists. But the immigration officers who processed them noted numerous inconsistencies in the women’s statements and referred them for secondary inspection.
The women initially presented fake tickets as well as posed as employees of a travel agency, the BI officers said.
“It was during the interview that they admitted they were going to work in Hong Kong and that they were promised salaries of 500 Hong Kong dollars a day,” TCEU head Ma. Timotea Barizo said in a statement.
Women hired as club entertainers abroad are prone to become victims of human trafficking as there have been reports that many of them are eventually forced into prostitution, Barizo said.
It was learned that the women were recruited by a female agent whom they met on Facebook.
The women admitted they each spent P15,000 for plane tickets but the cost of processing their travel documents was shouldered by the recruiter whom they would pay through salary deduction.
“This is a trick being used by human traffickers,” said Barizo.
“Indebting victims for the cost of their recruitment essentially forces them into debt bondage. They have no choice but to work long hours to pay off their so-called debt,” she added.
The women were eventually turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and further investigation.—Tina G. Santos