German lecturer arrested at Clark on suspicion of trafficking four Filipinas

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German lecturer
German lecturer Herbert Joseph Vogt has been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking. Picture via Facebook

A German lecturer — who once reported three of his colleagues for working illegally — has been arrested at Clark Airport for human trafficking.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Mariñas today (Wednesday, August 22) identified the suspect as 72-year-old Herbert Joseph Vogt. He is alleged to have been caught trafficking four Filipinas to work as caregivers in Germany.

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Vogt was arrested as he and his four alleged victims attempted to board a Qatar Airways flight bound for Doha en route to their final destination in his home country. 

His detention is not the first time that Vogt has crossed paths with the BI. In February 2014, he reported three of his countrymen for working as lecturers at the University of Santo Tomas on tourist visas and without proper permits.

According to a report in The Inquirer, the three were arrested and sent to the “Board of Special Inquiry” for questioning. There were no follow-up articles written to reveal whether they were deported or had any other action taken against them.

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Regarding the arrest of the German lecturer on Monday, Mariñas said the four women aroused the suspicion of immigration officers when they initially claimed to be travelling as two separate pairs, and denied knowing each other.

“They later admitted during questioning that they were hired to work as caregivers at a nursing home in Germany,” Mariñas said. “They were made to lie about the circumstances of their travel.”

They later told the officer that Vogt had been teaching them German at a university in Manila, and had helped them process their job applications. The BI did not name the university in today’s announcement.

Vogt’s Facebook page has been apparently inactive since 2010, with the exception of a single post in 2015 linking to an advertisement for nursing work in Germany.  

Vogt has been turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation where he is detained pending the filing of illegal recruitment and human trafficking charges against him. The four women have been referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and further investigation.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has ordered BI personnel stationed at international airports to be on the lookout for victims who might attempt to leave the country using a similar scheme.

“We have been receiving reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that many caregivers were recruited for deployment to Germany without securing the proper work permits, disguised as trainees,” he said. 

He warned that aspiring overseas Filipino workers “must only trust accredited recruitment agencies, and must ensure that they have the proper documentation from the POEA”.

It was reported earlier this year that Germany needs at least 35,000 caregivers to look after its ageing population.

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