BI warns vs human trafficking syndicates preying on minors
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday warned the public about human trafficking syndicates that prey on minors and underage girls who offer them jobs abroad.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the warning after officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila intercepted two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who presented falsified travel documents to make them appear older to be able to work abroad.
According to Morente, both victims are from the southern part of the country and were recruited to work as household helpers in Saudi Arabia.
Both were stopped from leaving by members of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU).
One of the victims was intercepted at the CIA on Thursday, while the other was rescued at the Naia on Friday.
According to Morente, the victims are suspected to have falsified their birthdates to make it appear that they meet the age requirements for domestic helpers who are eligible to work in Saudi Arabia.
Reports show that when interviewed, the two passengers gave inconsistent answers to basic questions about their ages and backgrounds, increasing suspicions that they were lying about their real ages and identities.
When interviewed, one of the victims admitted that she is only 20 years old, and even showed other IDs and photos of her wearing her high school uniform.
The other one claimed to be 26 years old but was suspected to have assumed the identity of a different person. BI records then showed that the name she used in her passport had already left to work as a household helper abroad.
Both victims were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in the filing of complaints against their recruiters.
“We commend the efforts of primary inspector officers and the TCEU officers that prevented the departure of these victims,” said Morente.
“Their vigilance again saved two of our kababayan from being victimized by unscrupulous recruiters who prey on our youth,” he added.
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