THREE women suspected of being human trafficking victims and who attempted to leave the country by posing as seafarers were rescued by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) on Saturday.
In his report, BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato ‘Jun’ Manahan, Jr. said the passengers were intercepted at the CIA before they could board an afternoon flight to Dubai.
Manahan said the women presented documents purporting that they were employed as seafarers who were about to join their vessel at the port of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Our investigation, however, indicate that these women are not really seafarers but were illegally recruited to work as domestic helpers in the emirate,” Manahan said.
He disclosed that although the women presented overseas employment certificates (OECs), seaman’s books, employment contracts, letters of guarantee from their alleged employer, and an entry visa to Dubai, upon verification their visas were found to be invalid.
“When asked about details on how they acquired their documents, they gave highly inconsistent statements, which prompted the immigration officers to investigate further,” Mahanan added.
Verification also revealed that two of the women had previously worked as household service workers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Manahan said that when interviewed, the women could not give the name of the vessel where they were allegedly hired to work as cleaners.
“Examination of their documents also showed that the ship they were supposed was docked in Labuan, Malaysia at the time of their departure,” he said.
BI port personnel have been directed to be extra vigilant against similar schemes and attempts by human traffickers who take advantage of the pandemic to spirit their victims out of the country.
The three, whose names could not be divulged due to a prohibition in the law, were turned over to the CIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation and assistance in filing of charges against their recruiters.