Immigration uncovers new trafficking scheme of faking itineraries for aspiring OFWs

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2021

(Philstar.com), 18 May 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration uncovered a new human trafficking scheme that involves fake itineraries for aspiring overseas Filipino workers, only to be later illegally transported to United Arab Emirates.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Tuesday said he received reports from the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit in Manila and Pampanga where several Filipino female workers present work documents bound for Maldives but are actually bound for the UAE.

The BI chief said this is “another instance of what they call a third-country recruitment, wherein overseas Filipino workers are being sent to work in a country, but are later illegally transported to another country to work there.”

“This scheme victimizes our kababayan and tricks them into accepting offers below standard rates. When they get to the third country, many end up being abused but do not report for fear of being deported,” Morente added.

The bureau said on May 14, TCEU officers from NAIA intercepted two female OFWs who presented valid overseas employment certificates (OECs), work visas for Maldives, employment contracts and itineraries bound for Maldives.

But verification with their systems showed that both victims have valid tourist visas for UAE. They also admitted that they received documents only before their depature.

One of the victims said they applied as domestic helpers but were given documents to work as sales assistants in Maldives. She added she was told to conceal her UAE visa.

Two days later, officers from Clark International Airport also intercepted two female victims who also presented documents for work in Maldives as attendant and receptionist, but were also found to be in possession of visas for UAE.

One of the victims said she promised work as cleaner in UAE and paid her recruiter P37,000 for the processing of her travel documents. The other said she was repatriated from UAE in 2020 and is heading back to work as household service worker. She said she paid P50,000 to her recruiter.

Morente said in cases like these, they furnish the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration a copy of the report and the agency will work on suspending or cancelling the accreditation of the agency.

The victims, meanwhilem have been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and filing of appropriate charges against their recruiters, Morente also said. — Kristine Joy Patag

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