By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers have intercepted five undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City attempting to leave the country in the guise of being tourists.
BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said the passengers, all women, were intercepted in two separate incidents last May 8 by enforcement officers Kaypee Enebrad and Virgilio Jr. Notario for trying to board their flights to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Three of the women were bound for Kota Kinabalu where they were hired to work as nightclub entertainers while the two were going to work in Lebanon as domestic helpers.
According to the BI, the three were allegedly enticed by a job offer they received online, and met a certain ‘Danilo’ in a mall in Quezon City where they paid up to P10,000 each.
They admitted to have been offered to work in a pub in Kota Kinabalu, and that their documents will be given to them in Hong Kong.
The two others presented fake visas to United Arab Emirates
“Obviously these women have been victimized by human trafficking syndicates that prey on the poor,” said Medina.
“We must pursue cases against these illegal recruiters to protect our fellow Filipinos from exploitation in foreign lands,” he added.
Medina stated that during Inter-Agency meetings, they learned that victims would sometimes be lured into prostitution, or be enslaved and given salaries far below industry standards.
The incident prompted Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to alert BI personnel in ports outside Manila to be on the lookout for other trafficking victims who might attempt to leave via the same scheme.
Morente suspects that “trafficking syndicates may attempt to divert their operations to other international airports due to the numerous interceptions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.”
All five were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.