BUREAU of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CRK) have rescued three women suspected to be human trafficking victims.
The three allegedly attempted to leave the country by posing as seafarers, according to the BI.
In his report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. said the passengers were intercepted at the Clark airport before they tried to board an afternoon flight to Dubai.
Manahan said the women presented documents purporting that they were employed as seafarers who were about to join their vessel at the port of the United Arab Emirates(UAE).
"Our investigation, however, indicate that these women are not really seafarers but were illegally recruited to work as domestic helpers in the emirate," Manahan said.
He said the women presented overseas employment certificates (OECs), seaman's books, employment contracts, letters of guarantee from their alleged employer, and an entry visa to Dubai.
But upon verification, their visas were found to be invalid.
"When asked about details on how they acquired their documents, they gave highly inconsistent statements, which prompted the immigration officers to investigate further," Mahanan said.
Verification also revealed that two of the women had previously worked as household service workers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Manahan added that the women also failed to give the name of the vessel where they were allegedly hired to work as cleaners.
"Examination of their documents also showed that the ship they were supposed was docked in Labuan, Malaysia at the time of their departure," he said.
Morente urged BI port personnel to be extra vigilant against similar schemes and attempts by human traffickers who take advantage of the pandemic to spirit their victims out of the country.
"These illegal recruiters and human traffickers are taking advantage of the need of some of our kababayan seeking jobs during this pandemic," said Morente. "We advise aspiring OFWs not to fall prey to such schemes, and to always check and double check their documents to ensure that everything is legal."
The trio, whose names could not be divulged due to a prohibition in the law, were turned over to the Clark International Airport Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation and assistance in filing of charges against their recruiters.