BI foils human trafficking attempt
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration prevented a human trafficking syndicate from shipping 15 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Malaysia using the southern backdoor.
In a report submitted to Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. Monday, BI-Immigration Regulation Division (IRD) chief Alberto Braganza said the passengers, composed 12 women and 3 men, were offloaded from M/V Danica Joy last June 7.
The BI turned over the victims to the Visayan Forum, a non-government organization that provides aid to human trafficking victims.
Braganza said the passengers were caught hiding inside one of the rooms aboard the ship which was about to sail for Sandakan, Malaysia.
In his report, Braganza said the victims who were mostly from Zamboanga, Quezon, Tarlac and Bulacan had no passports or any travel documents.
BI-Zamboanga alien control officer Sitti Rubaina Lutian said that the human trafficking attempt was intercepted after the bureau was alerted by officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) stationed at the southern port.
The DSWD officials told Lutian that they stopped nine women, also bound for Malaysia, who were about to board the ship.
It was the women who tipped the DSWD that some of their companions had already boarded the ship, thus prompting Lutian to dispatch her men to the vessel and search for the passengers.
Aside from the BI, members of the Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) based in Zamboanga also took part in the search.
The passengers’ names were withheld due in accordance with the anti-human trafficking act that prohibits the public disclosure of human trafficking victims.