MANILA — Immigration officials intercepted six suspected human trafficking victims who attempted to leave the country for Lebanon at the Iloilo International Airport (IIA).
In a report to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente Wednesday, Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Timotea Barizo said the women, who were illegally recruited to work as domestic helpers were stopped at the departure area of the Iloilo International Airport (IIA) last December 1 as they were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong.
“Upon arriving in Hong Kong they were supposed to board their connecting flight to Beirut and end up working there as household service workers (HSWs) without the appropriate overseas work permits,” Barizo said in a statement.
She added that the trafficking attempt was foiled after they were tipped by informants about the illegal activity.
“A concerned citizen called the IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) 1343 action line to relay the information. Reports like these are really valuable to the council as they help us immediately identify the victims and conduct rescue operations,” Barizo said.
On the other hand, Ma. Lourdes Mariano, BI-IIA head supervisor, said they immediately verified the information, and interviewed the victims.
“They all admitted that they were traveling to Lebanon to work as HSWs without the necessary documents,” she added.
The women reportedly alleged that a certain “Alfred” facilitated the processing of their travel documents and that their work visas would be handed to them upon their arrival in Beirut.
Meanwhile, Morente reiterated his appeal to the public to report possible cases of human trafficking.
“The IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) 1343 action line is a very valuable tool in preventing human trafficking. We urge our fellow Filipinos to call and report so the council may investigate and rescue these poor victims who are duped by traffickers and illegal recruiters,” he said.
The women were turned over to the IACAT in Region 6 for assistance and further investigation. Ferdinand Patinio / PNA – northboundasia.com