BI rescues underage OFWs from trafficking syndicate

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned the public against the activities of syndicates engaged in trafficking minors and underage females who are recruited to work abroad.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the warning after officers at the airports in Pampanga and Manila intercepted two overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) that presented falsified travel documents to appear older and be able to work abroad.

The passengers, who both hail from the Southern part of the , were recruited to work as household helpers in Saudi Arabia. Both were stopped from leaving by members of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU).

Alias “Ria” was intercepted at the International Airport (CIA) last Thursday while alias “Lea” was rescued at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday.

According to Morente, the victims are suspected to have falsified their birthdates to make it appear they meet the age requirements for domestic helpers eligible to work in Saudi Arabia.

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BI rescues underage OFWs from trafficking syndicate

Reports show that when interviewed, the two passengers had major inconsistencies to basic questions about their age and background, reinforcing suspicions they were lying about their real age.

When interviewed, “Ria” admitted that she is only 20 years old, and showed other IDs and photos of her wearing her high school uniform.

Alias “Lea”, on the other hand, claimed to be 26 years old but was suspected to have assumed the identity of a different person. BI records show that the name she used in her passport previously left to work as a household helper abroad.

“We commend the efforts of primary inspector officers and the TCEU officers that prevented the departure of these victims,” said Morente. “Their vigilance again saved two of our kababayan from being victimized by unscrupulous recruiters who prey on our youth,” he added.

Both victims were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance in filing of complaints against their recruiters.

Source: Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines