By PR | 12:31 AM September 15, 2021
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga stopped from leaving the country three women bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) suspected of being human trafficking victims.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) said the passengers were intercepted last Friday as they attempted to board an Emirates flight to Dubai.
The women presented themselves to for primary immigration inspection and allegedly attempted to leave disguised as tourists, but later admitted they were going to work as domestic household workers in the Emirates.
All of them had valid UAE tourist visas and return tickets to make it appear they were merely vacationing to Dubai.
When interviewed, however, the women confessed that they were recruited to work overseas without securing the required overseas work permits from the government.
They added that they received instructions from their handler via Facebook, and that they received copies of their visa and return ticket through the Internet.
According to the victims, they did not pay any amount to their agent, but the expenses will be deducted from their salaries.
“This is a form of debt bondage,” said Morente. “Hindi ka pa nakakaalis may utang ka na. In many cases, victims are charged by their recruiters exorbitant amounts which they are unable to immediately pay off, further locking them to their employers despite horrible working conditions,” he added.
The passengers were subsequently turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.
Morente warned members of human trafficking syndicates that the heightened vigilance of the BI is not only confined at the airport in Manila but in the other international ports as well.
He stressed that attempts by these syndicates to traffic their victims via other ports of exit will not work as there are adequate BI personnel stationed there who will stop them from leaving once they are intercepted.