17 trafficking victims held by BI at Mactan int’l airport

October 21, 2019

A TOTAL of 17 suspected human trafficking victims who were illegally recruited to work as household service workers (HSW) in the Middle East were intercepted at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

According to BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina, the female passengers disguised as tourists were intercepted on October 16 and 17 before they could board their flights to HongKong and Macau en route to their final destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

They were later turned over to the MCIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

Based on investigation, Medina said it appears that the victims were recruited by a syndicate which separately booked them on several flights in order to mislead immigration officers on the purpose of their trip, which is to work abroad without documentation.

Medina surmised that due to the BI’s intensified campaign against trafficking, the syndicates are attempting to shift their operations to other exit ports.

Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gil, BI-MCIA’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) head, disclosed that the 17 passengers were offloaded from five different flights and that 13 of them were hired to work in Dubai while the other four were bound for Qatar.