IMMIGRATION agents intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) eight suspected human trafficking victims who tried to leave the country in the guise of being tourists.
In a statement on Monday, December 17, BI Chief Jaime Morente said six men and two women were intercepted at the Naia Terminal 3 last Saturday, December 15.
The victims were supposed to board an Emirates Airways flight to Dubai en route to their final destination in Northern Cyprus.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Division Chief Grifton Medina said the trafficking attempt was foiled when one of the female victims was referred for secondary inspection to the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) by the immigration officer who doubted her purpose of travel.
The passenger initially claimed said she and her companions were traveling to Cyprus for a vacation, but her answers to questions were inconsistent.
Medina said the female traveller later admitted that their purpose of travel is to work abroad. She also confessed that she and her companions met at a house in Manila where they were briefed before going to the airport.
Morente commended the BI agents and warned illegal recruiters operating in the country.
“This incident shows that illegal recruiters and human traffickers would go to great lengths to fool our kababayans, and would entice them to pretend as tourists, especially during the holiday season,” said Morente.
“Let this serve as a warning to these syndicates, your illegal ways will not pass,” he added.
According to the BI, the eight suspected victims of human trafficking were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation following their apprehension last Saturday. (SunStar Philippines)