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BI intercepts five human trafficking victims at NAIA

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) intercepted five Filipinos victimized by human traffickers last March 6.

In a report to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said that the five victims were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 in an attempt to depart via a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight bound for Thailand.

The victims reportedly fell in line separately, with three of them having been initially cleared for departure.

“While they passed initial checks, we discovered a strange pattern in their itineraries during secondary inspection,” said Barizo.

Barizo explained that after primary inspection, departing Filipinos also undergo routine secondary checks. She added that it was during the secondary check that red flags were detected.

“Two of the five victims were actually siblings,” said Barizo. “These schemes are getting increasingly more complex, even resorting to sending out blood relatives to show some semblance of legitimacy,” she added.

During further inspection, the group was found to have concealed an itinerary, with a connecting flight bound for the United Arab Emirates, having Libya as their final destination. The victims admitted they were recruited to work as factory workers in Libya by a certain Julie that they met through Facebook messenger.

Morente again issued a warning against illegal recruiters, reminding Filipinos of the requirements for aspiring OFWs. “Do not immediately trust people that you meet only online,” said Morente. “These scammers are only interested in earning at your expense. Protect yourselves by ensuring that you only secure work via legitimate entities, as authorized by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration),” he added. (Jantzen Tan)


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