MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday reported its operatives have rescued five more Filipinos, believed to be victims of human trafficking, at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the passengers were intercepted last Oct. 27 and 30 as they were about to board their flights for Hong Kong and Macau.
Morente added the passengers were bound for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they were allegedly hired as household service workers and waitresses.
The bureau said the intercepted individuals admitted during the investigation that they have UAE working visas in their possession which were processed and provided to them by their recruiters.
An alleged female courier was also intercepted after three of the five passengers pointed her as the one who escorted them to the airport and briefed them prior to their flight.
“She was turned over the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) which then filed a criminal complaint for human trafficking and illegal recruitment against her before the Cebu City prosecutor’s office,” BI MCIA Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gil said.
She said the interception of the five comes nearly two weeks after 17 suspected trafficking victims were stopped from leaving Mactan airport while attempting to leave for Hongkong and Macau, en route to the UAE and Qatar.
“We suspect that all these victims were recruited by the same syndicate and that the female suspect we arrested is involved in the perpetration of this trafficking scheme,” Palma-Gil said.
The bureau said the identities of the passengers and the alleged courier were not disclosed in accordance with the anti-trafficking law.
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