by Katrina Hallare, 7 Nov 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Five people, who were believed to be victims of human trafficking, were rescued at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Thursday.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the victims were intercepted last Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 as they were about to board their flights for Hong Kong and Macau, en route to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The BI’s initial investigation showed that the five women were supposed to work as household service workers and waitresses.
All victims admitted having UAE visas, which were provided to them by their recruiters, the BI statement read.
Meanwhile, three of the five victims pointed to their recruiter, saying that she was the one who escorted them to the airport and briefed them about their flight. The alleged recruiter was not identified pursuant to Republic Act No. 10364 or The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
“She was turned over the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) which then filed a criminal complaint about human trafficking and illegal recruitment against her 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.
The interception of the five, the BI said, comes days apart after 17 people, who were also suspected victims of human trafficking, were intercepted in the same airport.
Similarly, the victims were supposed to board their flights bound for Hong Kong and Macau, en route to the UAE and Qatar. /muf