Bureau of Immigration

BI rescues 688 human traffic victims, illegal recruitment

January 16, 2022 Jun I. Legaspi 482 views

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its officers at the airports rescued a total of 688 possible victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment as part of its continuing drive to combat human trafficking in the country’s ports of exit.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that immigration officers deferred the departure of a total of 13,680 passengers in 2021, majority of which for having improper documentation.

According to the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), of the said number, 491 were seen as possible human trafficking victims and were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and investigation.

A total of 197 victims, on the other hand, were turned over to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) mostly for presenting counterfeit or questionable overseas work permits and job contracts.

“There is still a large number of minors and underage victims posing as legitimate workers that were intercepted this year despite the pandemic and despite the continuous warnings we have issued,” said Morente.

The BI reported 326 minor and underage victims intercepted in 2021, with 18 of which assumed the identities of other persons.

Some 34 documents presented during departure were also found to be fraudulent or counterfeit by the BI’s forensic documents laboratory.

“Some common schemes that these human traffickers and illegal recruiters would employ is the issuance of fake documents or tampered visas to their victims, falsified marriages, the continued attempt to use tourist visas to work abroad, and duping underage Filipinos to work as household workers,” said Morente.

He again warned aspiring overseas workers not to resort to such schemes to work abroad.

“These illegal schemes have already been uncovered by the BI, and we keep on issuing warnings to our kababayan against them. Do not fall prey to these scammers and traffickers, they will only give you false promises and put you in danger,” warned Morente.