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BI warns: ‘Concealed Visas’ can be detected

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A warning was issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) against illegal recruiters for them to stop the practice of enticing their victims to present visas for tourism when their actual purpose is for employment overseas.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said this after the bureau intercepted cases of human trafficking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) wherein victims were made to pose as tourists bound for Singapore.

Upon secondary inspection, the victims were found to be actually bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they were illegally recruited to work.

It was learned that a 19-year-old woman was intercepted at the NAIA terminal 1 last July 16, where the victim presented herself as an employee of a local company in the Philippines. She was recruited via social media to work in Dubai for a club resort.

The following day, a 26-year-old female victim was also intercepted in the same terminal after initially claiming to be a business woman traveling to Singapore to attend the APEC international conference on recent developments in business marketing strategies.

However, she later admitted to presenting dubious documents, which were all given to her by her recruiter outside the airport terminal. She was found to have a concealed visa to the UAE, where she was hired to work as a waitress.

Both women were referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for debriefing and assistance in filing cases against their recruiters.

“Our officers were able to access a system that allows us to verify certain concealed visas. In this modern day and age, the old modus of hiding sheets of folded visas can now be detected. Our kababayans are warned not to agree to this illegal practice, which only puts them at risk of exploitation,” the BI chief said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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