BUREAU of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga have rescued two women suspected of being “trafficking victims” who attempted to leave the country by disguising themselves as “seafarers.”
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) said the passengers were intercepted last May 24 as they were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Bangkok.
The women initially claimed they were “sea-based” overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recruited to work in Thailand and presented spurious documents to mislead immigration officers.
They, however, eventually confessed that their final destination was Laos, where they were hired to work as “call center agents.”
The BI earlier reported the increase in the number of Filipinos trafficked to Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, where they were recruited as call center agents, only to end up working for “scamming companies.”
“The modus operandi here is for the victims to initially fly to Thailand, where they would then board their connecting flight to Laos,” Tansingco noted.
The victims, when interviewed, narrated that they were recruited to work in Laos via an advertisement they saw on social media.
They said they each paid P40,000 to their “handlers” in exchange for processing their bogus travel documents.
Both were referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and filing of cases against their recruiters.