THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Sunday that it has intercepted five Filipinos attempting to leave the country in the guise of being government workers.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, the BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) said the passengers were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 before they could board a Cebu Pacific flight to Bangkok, Thailand.
The BI said the five Filipinos were believed to be victims of human trafficking because they presented spurious travel authority papers from government agencies where they are purportedly employed.
However, during questioning by BI officers, they confessed to being unemployed.
They admitted that the travel authority certificates and other documents they presented were only given to them by their handlers.
Two of the passengers admitted giving their recruiter more than P30,000 to facilitate their travel abroad.
Further investigation also revealed that the victims were promised high-paying jobs as teachers in Thailand.
The BI said it has identified the alleged courier and has referred the same to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and filing of appropriate charges.
In light of this, Tansingco renewed his warning to the public against illegal recruiters and human traffickers who turned their victims slaves of crypto scam syndicates.
“Some of these victims have been rescued and repatriated to Manila and recounted stories about the bitter ordeal and even physical harm they suffered in the hands of their foreign employers,” Tansingco added.
In recent months, both the Executive agencies and the Senate have unearthed the modus of human traffickers who usually send victims to Southeast Asian countries, notably Thailand and Malaysia, but the jobseekers end up in remote crypto-scam slave camps in Cambodia or Myanmar.