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BI officer relieved for clearing 4 human trafficking victims

Norman Tansingco
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco announces the interception of four women human trafficking victims at the NAIA and relieving the officer that cleared them. (JERRY S. TAN)

FOUR women said to be being trafficked to Lebanon to work as household service workers were intercepted by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as they were about to leave the country

It was learned from BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco that the BI officer who cleared the victims has since been relieved of his duties and is now undergoing investigation.

Three of the victims were already cleared for departure when they were intercepted after attempting to board an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur last April 21 while the fourth victim was bound Bangkok on the same day, after attempting to depart via a Cebu Pacific flight, when intercepted.

The trafficking victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and filing of cases against their recruiters.

Tansingco said that the passengers initially disguised as tourists claimed that they will be touring abroad but later confessed that their final destination is Lebanon, where they were recruited to work.

“Sending people abroad without proper documents, let alone to countries with existing deployment bans, raises security threats for our OFWs even more,” the BI chief said.

On questioning, the victims told BI agents that they were recruited by a certain ‘Helen’ whom they met on Facebook and provided them with travel documents.

They also disclosed that they were all allegedly instructed by their recruiter to queue for clearance at a specific immigration booth.

“Corruption has no place in our agency. Immediate action against employees who are possibly conniving with these syndicates will serve as a big deterrent to others who might be thinking of following suit,” Tansingco stressed.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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