By Benjie Lim Vergara
IMMIGRATION agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday saved three potential victims of a human trafficking syndicate by preventing them to board a Saudi Arabia bound flight after they were found to be hired by a suspected illegal recruiter.
A Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) of the immigration bureau led by Julius Caesar B. Feria II identified the would be victims as Naira M. Abataw, Junaina N. Amerol and Haina M. Kusain. They are bound to Jeddah via Dubai, where they are supposed to work as household helpers,
Furthermore, the TCEU team leader disclosed that the three were in possession of valid Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC), employment contracts and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) certification issued by a local recruiter when stopped at the immigration counter.
Feria II revealed that the trio were made to undergo a secondary interview, where they were asked to present other proofs of identification to determine their identity and age. He added that Abataw and Kusain could not produce any other government-issued ID while Amerol was able to present a photo copy of her Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) birth certificate.
Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division head Marc Red Mariñas said Abataw, Kusain and Amerol claimed to be 24, 27, and 23 years old, respectively but “their physical attributes suggest they are younger than their declared age.”
The BI official added that the three passengers were first time travelers and have no prior experience in household work. Moreover, it was learned that they were also unaware how they secured their passports and their “jobs abroad.”
Mariñas said the three were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT) for proper action.
As this developed, Immigration officers have recently barred at least 20 women posing as overseas Filipino workers from leaving the country due to inadequate travel documents.