By Margret Fermin, 12 Dec 2019
Last year, authorities investigated 488 suspected human trafficking cases in the Philippines.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) intercepted six Filipinas, which are believed to human trafficking victims at the Iloilo airport.
Based on a report received by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) overall supervisor Ma. Timotea Barizo said the Pinay victims were intercepted at the Iloilo International Airport (IIA) departure area recently.
The victims allegedly were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong and then to Beirut, Lebanon, where they were illegally recruited to work as domestic helpers.
A concerned citizen allegedly called IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) 1343 action line to provide information on trafficking attempts.
According to BI-IIA head supervisor Ma. Lourdes Mariano, the victims, would have traveled to Lebanon to work without a valid document. Someone named “Alfred” had processed their travel documents and work visas that would have been delivered to them upon arrival in Beirut.
At the same time, Morente appealed to the public to report possible human trafficking cases.
Also read: “Cult leaders” arrested on human trafficking charges
Human Trafficking in the Philippines
Republic Act 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.”
Bureau of Immigration also revealed that human traffickers are now using falsified POEA clearance. It said such a scheme bypasses the POEA’s validation process at the airport using fake stamps and signatures.
Visit the official website of POEA to verify if a recruitment agency is legal or not.