MIAA probes fake airport passes used for human trafficking
MANILA, Philippines — A deep-dive investigation has been ordered by the chief of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) into the alleged use of fraudulent airport passes for human trafficking activities after four passengers masquerading as airport employees were arrested recently.
“Following yesterday’s Senate hearing on trafficked overseas Filipino workers in Myanmar, MIAA General Manager Cesar Chiong has directed a thorough probe into the alleged use of fake airport passes to aid in human trafficking attempts,” the MIAA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality earlier conducted a hearing on the human trafficking of Filipinos in Myanmar.
MIAA recently reported four cases of security breaches at Naia Terminal 3, where individuals attempted to bypass immigration officers by posing as employees of airport concessionaires. All of these incidents took place between October and November.
All four have been endorsed to the Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking for disposition.
“The MIAA deplores this act against humanity and vows to fully support multi-agency initiatives to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice,” MIAA said.
It vowed to tighten security protocols to protect overseas Filipino workers as they pass through Naia to minimize potential risks.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI), in a separate statement, said the four passengers were human trafficking victims who reportedly used fake airport access passes to be able to enter the boarding gates.
One of them was a female victim intercepted on Nov. 16 by airport security personnel bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She also presented a fake passport and boarding pass, which she said were stamped outside the airport. She tried to board the aircraft through the employees’ entrance.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said previous victims might have used the employees’ entrance to leave the country and work illegally in countries such as Myanmar.
Tansingco said that they are now currently investigating several victims of a “[human] trafficking syndicate that entices our kababayans (fellowmen) to work abroad as call center agents, only to be transported to a third country to work as online scammers.”
“We are trying to see if these two cases are linked. This is already a big security issue, and we see the need to refer the matter for a thorough investigation, together with local law enforcement agencies and the MIAA,” he added.
Hence, Tansingco said the BI will start implementing strict departure procedures to ensure that all departing passengers are inspected and assessed by BI officers.
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