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BI saves 5 would-be human smuggling victims

July 11, 2023 Jun I. Legaspi 182 views

IMMIGRATION officers at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) intercepted 5 victims of human trafficking last July 8 (Saturday).

The victims, who were attempting to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Thailand pretending to be tourists, were later revealed to be bound for the United Arab Emirates.

The immigration officers became suspicious of the travellers’ intentions due to inconsistencies in their statements.

They claimed to be traveling for a vacation through the help of a friend and a sibling of one of the travellers. However, upon investigation during a secondary inspection, the victims admitted their true destination.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco stated, “This is a common scheme of human trafficking, wherein victims are made to go to a third country before flying out to the final port of destination.”

Tansingco emphasized the importance of the vigilance and thoroughness of immigration officers in identifying potential cases of human trafficking and preventing such illegal activities.

The victims were immediately turned over to the MCIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance in filing charges against their recruiter.

The Bureau of Immigration urges the public to report any suspicious activities or individuals related to human trafficking to the authorities.

“This is a recurring scheme that uses visa-free countries as a jump-off point to other destinations,” said Tansingco.