MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday (07 November 2019) said the bureau has rescued at least five people believed to be victims of human trafficking at the Mactan International Airport (MCIA) in Cebu.
In a prepared statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the victims were intercepted last Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 as they were about to go on board flights to Hong Kong and Macau first before going to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
BI’s initial investigation showed the five women were supposedly to work as household service workers and waitresses.
All victims admitted having UAE visas, which were provided to them by their recruiters, the BI said.
Three of the five victims claimed their recruiter was the one who escorted them to the airport and briefed them about their flight.
The alleged recruiter was not identified owing to Republic Act No. 10364 or “The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.”
“She was turned over to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) which then filed a criminal complaint about human trafficking and illegal recruitment before the Cebu City prosecutor’s office,” BI MCIA Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gil said.
“We suspect that all these victims were recruited by the same syndicate and that the female suspect we arrested is involved in the perpetration of this trafficking scheme,” Palma-Gil added.
BI said that the interception of five victim comes days apart after 17 people, who were also suspected victims of human trafficking and intercepted in the same airport.
Similarly, the victims were supposed to board their flights to Hong Kong and Macau, route to UAE and Qatar. (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)