MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it has rescued 34 women who were suspected to have been illegally recruited to work as household service workers in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, the BI said the victims were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 last Saturday, Nov. 30 while they were about to board their flight to Riyadh.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) port operations chief Grifton Medina said the victims, mostly in their 20s and 30s, were stopped from leaving the country after immigration officers noticed “glaring discrepancies” and “irregularities” in the travel documents they presented.
Ma. Timotea Barizo, the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) chief, said the 34 presented documents as overseas Filipino workers, but upon verification, numerous inconsistencies were discovered.
“The job descriptions on the visas of the victims indicated that they were hired as household service workers but their overseas employment certificates (OECs) and job contracts state that they were recruited as cleaners in companies,” Barizo said.
“Discrepancies like these are not allowed, especially when the actual work is in households rather than in companies, which puts our workers in greater risk,” the official added.
Their OECs were confirmed spurious by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) representatives at the airport, the BI said.
The women, whose names were not divulged due to a prohibition in the anti-trafficking law, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.
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