BI rescues five suspected human trafficking victims

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 7) — Five possible human trafficking victims were rescued recently at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the five passengers were intercepted in two separate incidents at the airport last October 27 and 30 as they were about to board their flights to Macau and Hong Kong, on the way to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they were hired supposedly as household service workers and waitresses.

The BI also said that initial investigation showed that the five individuals disguised as tourists on their way to Macau and Hong Kong. They also allegedly admitted that they have UAE working visas which were processed and provided by their recruiters.

Further, the BI also arrested the suspected recruiter after three of the victims boarding for Hong Kong pointed to her during the interception last October 30. The recruiter escorted the victims to the airport and briefed them before their flight.

Before that, two of the victims headed for Macau were also escorted by the recruiter at the Mactan airport.

“She (the recruiter) was turned over the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) which then filed a criminal complaint for human trafficking and illegal recruitment against her before the Cebu City prosecutor’s office,” said MCIA Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Asuncion Palma-Gil in the statement.

Weeks ago, 17 suspected trafficking victims were also rescued at MCIA and were also boarding to Macau and Hong Kong.

“We suspect that all these victims were recruited by the same syndicate and that the female suspect we arrested is involved in the perpetration of this trafficking scheme,” Palma-Gil added.