BI rescues 8 suspected trafficking victims at NAIA

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Eight suspected human trafficking victims were rescued by the authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

In a statement issued Sunday, the BI said the victims were intercepted by its agents in three separate operations between February 27 to 29.

BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan said the first four of the female victims were intercepted last February 24 at NAIA Terminal 3 while attempting to depart to Bangkok, Thailand.

The four initially pretended to be tourists traveling together for a vacation but was later found to be in possession of United Arab Emirates visas. They also eventually admitted to being bound for Dubai to work as household service workers, the BI said.

“Upon interview, they alleged that their documents were processed by a fixer they only knew as Mark,” the bureau added.

On February 27, 3 more victims who attempted to fly to Brunei were intercepted by immigration officers at NAIA Terminal 3.

The BI said the passengers initially claimed to be overseas Filipino workers but system checks revealed that they carried falsified overseas employment certificates that belonged to someone else.

Meanwhile, an underage female was also intercepted by immigration officers at the NAIA Terminal 2 while she tried to depart as a Filipino worker to Riyadh.

“Upon interview, it was noted that she gave several inconsistent statements and could not answer basic questions about her age. She eventually admitted to lying about her age by presenting a falsified birth certificate,” the bureau said.

All eight individuals were referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing criminal cases against their recruiters, the BI said.

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