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Wheelchairs now being used by trafficking victims to evade strict inspection

A woman victim of human trafficking admitted before immigration authorities that her recruiter instructed her to feign sickness so she can use a wheelchair.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported the interception of the said female trafficking victim last August 17 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. The victim was referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation against her recruiter.

The victim, whose name was withheld in compliance with anti-trafficking laws, attempted to depart on board a Philippine Airlines flight bound for Thailand.

However, she was intercepted by members of the BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES).

During secondary inspection, officers noted numerous inconsistent statements.

She later admitted that she was actually recruited to work as a household service worker in Lebanon and stated that she was instructed to delete all conversations with her recruiter on her mobile phone.

According to the victim, her recruiter promised her that if her Lebanon visa will not be approved, she will be shuttled to Hong Kong to look for a possible job.

Owing to this, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco renewed his warning against illegal recruiters and human traffickers.

“These traffickers will go to great lengths to convince prospective workers to leave illegally because they earn a lot from their recruitment but once the workers encounter distress, they will disappear,” said Tansingco.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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