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Three Lebanon-bound trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA

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THREE Lebanon-bound female passengers who attempted to leave in the guise of being tourists were intercepted by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

According to BI Commissioner Noman Tansingco, the three women were stopped from boarding their flights after they confessed that they were bound for Lebanon and recruited to work there as domestic helpers. Their names were not divulged as the law prohibits the public disclosure of human trafficking victims.

“These trafficking syndicates are continuing their nefarious activities but we will not relax our vigilance in preventing their victims from leaving and be saved from the evils of human trafficking,” the BI chief said, adding that all three were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance in filing cases against their recruiters.

The BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that the three passengers were intercepted last March 10 and 12 and at the NAIA terminal 3. One of them was a 26-year-old passenger who was referred for secondary inspection by an immigration officer who doubted her purpose of travel.

On questioning, she initially claimed that she was traveling to Malaysia as a tourist but the passport she presented showed that she has an Egyptian visa and could not say if she is employed here.

The passenger then admitted that her final destination is Lebanon, where she was hired to work with a monthly pay of USUS$400.

Meantime, the other woman claimed that she is employed as a sales agent for an appliance company but she presented a dubious certificate of employment and could not present other proof of her financial capacity to travel, even as she confessed that she was also bound for Lebanon and got recruited to work as a domestic helper there.

Another victim was intercepted last March 12, after claiming that she is bound for HongKong for a vacation. Further inspection revealed that she was actually bound for Lebanon and was offered to work as a household service worker.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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