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New human trafficking scheme uncovered by BI airport officers

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A NEW human trafficking scheme wherein the victims are facilitated to work in destinations other than those indicated in their valid employment documents was uncovered by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers assigned at the airport.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that three passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were recently intercepted by their personnel wherein two of them admitted that they were bound for Dubai although the documents they presented purport that they were going to return to their former employers.

“This modus operandi aims to mislead our immigration officers as the victims do have valid employment permits to a certain country where they had previously worked, but actually their intention is to work somewhere else,” Tansingco said, noting that the modus targets Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with expiring contracts who are offered to work in other middle eastern countries which they would then use to depart.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the BI chief commended the immigration officers at the NAIA who stumbled on the scheme due to their vigilance and the competence they displayed in detecting this new ploy by human traffickers who victimized OFWs.

In a report to Tansingco, the BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) at the NAIA cited the case of three passengers who were recently encountered at the airport and were victimized by the said scheme.

Two of the passengers, both women bound for Dubai, were stopped from leaving at the NAIA 3 last Nov. 1 after they admitted that the valid employment documents to Saudi Arabia they presented were just for a show as their actual intention is to work in Dubai.

They expressed their preference not to return to their former employers, thus they want to try their luck in Dubai where they were promised jobs by people they only met on Facebook or were referred to them by their friends.

Sandoval said the I-PROBES also reported encountering last Oct. 31 a repatriated female OFW from Iraq who recounted how she was able to depart as a returning worker to Dubai using her valid overseas employment certificate (OEC), although she had no intention of returning to her former employer.

Instead, the passenger she scouted for other jobs online and she was eventually recruited to work for a beauty salon in Iraq.

However, instead of receiving the US$800 monthly salary promised her, she only received a monthly pay of US$150 during her brief stint at the salon, prompting her to eventually seek the assistance of the Philippine embassy in Baghdad, Sandoval said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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