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Trafficking victim offered ‘escort services’ by fake BI officer

A warning was issued to aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco against accepting illegal job offers on social media.

Tansingco’s warning came after receiving a report from the BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) on an incident last January 8 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

“These recruiters will sweet talk you into giving your hard-earned money to them. In many cases, they will promise you assistance, only to leave you hanging at the end,” he added.

The 27-year-old victim initially claimed that she is bound for Taiwan as a tourist. However, alert immigration officers noted inconsistencies in her documentation and referred her for secondary inspection. Her case was immediately referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) who vowed to run after her recruiters.

During secondary inspection, it was found that she was actually bound for Albania in Southern Europe where she was recruited to work in an electric company.

She later admitted that that she was offered escorting services in exchange for PhP 120,000. However, she haggled and the amount was reportedly lowered to PhP 80,000, including her flight tickets.

Upon arrival at the airport, she met her supposed escort in one of the food establishments open to the public, and she was asked to pay an additional PhP 67,000 which she hesitantly paid for.

Her supposed escort introduced herself as an immigration employee, who even asked for an additional PhP 10,000, which Ria did not pay for.

When she was referred for secondary inspection, she sent a message to her escort, who said that it was just part of the procedure.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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