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BI focuses on human traffickers

Norman Tansingco

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is now focusing now investigations against human traffickers.

Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that they are keen on uncovering members of trafficking and illegal recruitment syndicates.

“We are in close coordination with the IACAT (Inter-agency council against trafficking) in terms of investigating these syndicates,” said Tansingco.

Tansingco warned BI employees not to engage in illegal practices. “If we are able to confirm that we have employees involved in trafficking activities then they will face the harshest penalties of law,” he warned.

The BI earlier reported the interception of a trafficking victim posing as an employee of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin Remulla slammed escorting services at airports after the said incident.

“We are working with the IACAT to look how this syndicate runs,” said Tansingco. “We have leads on big time traffickers so that they can be arrested and jailed,” he added.

Tansingco shared that last October 6, its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 stopped six (6) Filipino passengers including four (4) illegal recruitment victims and their two (2) couriers, who attempted to leave the country disguised as tourists.

The victims attempted to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Bangkok enroute to their final destination in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they were supposed hired to work as undocumented contract workers.

The victims were accompanied by their handlers, who reportedly handed them dubious employment documents to make it appear that they are gainfully employed in a local company.

They also admitted during questioning that they were recruited to work as waitresses in the UAE even as they denied being employees of the company that purportedly sponsored their trip. It later turned out that one of their companions is the owner of the travel agency that facilitated their travel, including the spurious documents that were given to them.

The BI also reported another major interception last October 12 at the NAIA Terminal 3. A total of 17 victims attempted to travel to Hong Kong, in the guise of being employees of a trading corporation in the Philippines.

However, it was later confirmed that they did not know each other, and their documents were merely handed to them by an agency who instructed them to pose as officemates.

“We highly suspect that they have also been recruited illegally to work abroad, hence they were given fake documents to present to immigration,” said Tansingco.

All victims were turned over to the IACAT for further investigation and filing of cases against their recruiter.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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