By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have stopped the departure of a Filipina, who was illegally recruited to work in Macau.
The victim, whose name was withheld, attempted to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Macau Sunday evening at the NAIA terminal 3, sponsored by her recruiter who she said was her family friend.
According to BI port operations (POD) chief Grifton Medina, the victim was traveling with the 11-year-old daughter of her recruiter, and that she was carrying a travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) citing her as the guardian.
“The woman was attempting to depart as a tourist under the sponsorship of a certain Filipina who is a household service worker (HSW) in Macau. She pretended to be the guardian of the child, and alleged they were bound for Macau to visit her sponsor,” Grifton said.
A DSWD clearance is a departure requirement for minors travelling without a parent.
According to Medina, their records revealed that it was not the first time the sponsor had invited a Filipino to Macau by pretending to be the guardian of her minor daughter.
“Upon interview, the victim admitted that she was promised a job as a waitress in Macau,” said Medina.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente lauded the interception of the human trafficker, but expressed his dismay towards the rise of another trafficking scheme.
“It is very disappointing to know that some people would resort to using children as accessory to an illegal act. We will not allow our fellow Filipinos to fall prey to such malicious actions,” he said.
According to Morente, the incident “is a clear case of human trafficking” and reminded all aspiring overseas Filipino workers that they should secure the required clearance from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for their own protection.
The woman was later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.