6 suspected human trafficking victims intercepted at Iloilo airport

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019   •   273

Iloilo Airport

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday said it has intercepted six females who were said to have been illegally recruited to work as domestic helpers in Lebanon.

In a report reaching the office of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit said the women, who were suspected human trafficking victims, were stopped at the departure area of the Iloilo International Airport last December 1 while they were about to board their flight to Hong Kong.

The bureau said that from Hong Kong, the women were supposed to fly to Beirut where they will work as household service workers without appropriate overseas work permits.

In a statement, Ma. Timotea Barizo, overall supervisor of BI’s travel control and enforcement unit, said the immigration officers were able to foil the trafficking attempt after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen via the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking 1343 action line.

“Reports like these are really valuable to the council as they help us immediately identify the victims and conduct rescue operations,” Barizo said.

During investigation, the women allegedly admitted they were bound for Lebanon to work without the necessary documents.

They also pointed to a certain “Alfred” as the one who facilitated the processing of their travel documents and promised that their work visas would be handed to them upon their arrival in Beirut.

The six females, whose names were not revealed, were turned over to the IACAT in Region 6 for assistance and further investigation.

Immigration Bureau intercepts 4 human trafficking victims at Mactan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has intercepted four suspected victims of human trafficking at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the four women were supposed to take a connecting flight to Dubai from Thailand to work as domestic helpers.

The four women were supposed to board a flight last February 1.

“It appears that the novel coronavirus outbreak has not deterred these syndicates from continuing with their nefarious activities. We are warning their would-be victims that they will not be able to leave, contrary to the promise of their recruiters,” Medina said.

The head of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gi said the four women initially claimed that they are mere tourists who would be going to Thailand for a vacation.

They later admitted that they were going to Dubai to work as domestic helpers and that they were directly recruited by a certain ‘Ms. Jessa’ from a Dubai-based recruitment agency.

“The four were referred to the MCIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing a case against their recruiters,” according to the Immigration Bureau.

The BI reiterated their warning against human trafficking and advised potential victims not to fall for illegal entities.—AAC

Taiwanese POGO employee seeks help after alleged abuse from Chinese employer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

A Taiwanese national claims she was a victim of human trafficking after she was forced to work at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) company.

Twenty-three- year-old Taiwanese national Lai Yu Cian or Ivy is seeking help after she was allegedly trafficked into the Philippines. She also reported suffering abuse from her Chinese employer.

“They want me to work for 24 hours, treating me like a slave. I already told them [employers] I want to go home. I want to go back to Taiwan. But they forced me to work for them,” she said.

Ivy said the company took her passport. She also added that her employer sexually assaulted her and threatened her if she sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Ivy also revealed that her Chinese employer has a protector from the government and that she would sometimes hear the name ‘Michael Yang’.

“They always say that they have a protector behind them who is government people,” she said.

“I heard about once or twice when my supervisor got mad at me, they mentioned Michael Yang. He didn’t explain to me. He just shouts that at me,” Ivy added.

According to Senator Risa Hontiveros, they still haven’t verified if the “Michael Yang” identified by Ivy is the former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Right now our main concern is the humanitarian aspect. We haven’t gone to the checking of identities,” she said.

Ivy is among the 30 other Asian nationals who were rescued in Mandaluyong last February 3.

Senator Joel Villanueva previously said that he is seeking the temporary suspension of POGO operations in the country due to the increasing number of illegal POGO workers.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

7 suspected trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   February 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Operatives of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted seven women who were suspected of being victims of a human trafficking syndicate.

In a statement, BI port operations divisions chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were stopped last Thursday, January 30 at the departure area of the NAIA Terminal 3 as they were about to board their flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Medina said the women were barred from leaving the country after immigration officers found that the travel documents they presented were fake.

They were also caught in possession of counterfeit clearances from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as well as validation forms purportedly showing that their papers were checked and cleared by Labor Assistance Center personnel at the airport.

“They admitted during an interview that the bogus documents were given to them by their handlers and they were recruited via Facebook to work as domestic helpers in the UAE,” Ma. Timotea Barizo, BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) chief, said.

The women were eventually turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.

The bureau said the interception of the group was amid the implementation of stricter screening procedures at the airport as part of the Philippine government’s efforts to combat the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

“This should send a signal to these syndicates that there is no letup in our anti-trafficking campaign despite the 2019 nCoV ARD outbreak. Our departure areas remain off-limits to human traffickers and their victims,” Medina said.

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