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Immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) head Bienvenido Castillo III reported the arrest of a human trafficker and eight victims as they were bound for Israel. (JERRY S. TAN)

BI rescues eight trafficking victims recruited to work in Israel despite ongoing crisis

By: Jerry S. Tan

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) intercepted a human trafficker who attempted to escort eight victims recruited to work in Israel despite the ongoing crisis in the area.

The bureau’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) headed by Bienvenido Castillo III reported the female trafficker attempted to depart with the victims on board an Emirates airlines flight at the Clark International Airport (CIA) Terminal 2 in the guise of a pilgrimage to the said country.

Castillo said the victims later admitted that they will work as hospital and hotel cleaners upon their arrival in Israel with a promised monthly salary of P60,000 to P80,000.

It can be recalled that last year, the country placed Israel under crisis Alert level 2, wherein only returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with existing employment contracts are allowed to go back to their destination and resume their employment.

The recruiter reportedly worked as a travel agent, and enticed the victims to work under such circumstances.

One of the victims recounted how their agent promised that they will be employed “in a safer part of Israel’.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco blasted the scheme and said that the recruiter should be put behind bars for putting her victims in harm’s way.

“All for money, this recruiter has made her victims agree to such circumstances despite the major life risk,” said Tansingco. “She should face what she did in court and must be jailed to serve as an example not to prey on the vulnerabilities of our fellow Filipinos,” he added.

All 9 passengers were turned over to the inter-agency council against trafficking (IACAT) for processing. The eight victims will undergo assistance while the trafficker faces cases against her.

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