NINE people bound for Japan posing as students were intercepted by Bureau of Immigration (BI) operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City last week.

The BI said that the passengers, whose names were withheld for their protection, were not allowed to leave the country on June 25.

The group was supposed to travel with a certain Annie Yamon Kotake, a Filipina holder of a Japan residence card and owner of K-Ann International School.

The bureau added that all passengers, who are from Cavite, were in possession of Japan student visas processed by Kotake’s school.

But during an interview conducted by the Immigration Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, they disclosed that the real purpose of their travel was to work in Japan.

It was also discovered that the passengers met through Kotake and studied Japanese language under her school in preparation for their deployment in Japan. They also shouldered the expenses for the trip.

One of the nine passengers said that Kotake had already recruited entertainers under the same scheme.

The passengers, along with Kotake, were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) for further investigation.

Filipinos who wish to work abroad have to make sure that they have the necessary working documents from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

"Otherwise, instead of finding greener pastures abroad, they run the risk of becoming victims of human trafficking,” said BI spokesperson Elaine Tan. (FP/Sunnex)