Bureau of Immigration

BI warns aspiring OFWs anew vs traffickers, illegal recruiters

May 1, 2022 Jun I. Legaspi 246 views

BUREAU Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente on Labor Day renewed his reminder to aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) not to fall prey to trafficking and illegal recruitment schemes.

According to Morente, human trafficking remains a real threat to Filipinos as illegal recruiters continue to prey on vulnerable citizens.

“Human trafficking is considered as modern day slavery,” said Morente. “It is real, and it has hit many Filipino families. These recruiters would make their victims agree to unacceptable working conditions, promising a better life by working abroad illegally. Many victims end up overworked, underpaid and sometimes not even paid at all,” he added.

Working illegally abroad, Morente stated, also adds to the vulnerability of the victim to abuse.

In 2021, the BI has foiled a total of 688 attempts of human trafficking and illegal recruitment in the country’s international ports. In the same year, the BI deferred the departure of 13,680 passengers with improper documentation.

Victims would often be given fake documents or be trained to provide fake statements to work illegally abroad or to depart for countries with imposed travel bans.

The warning, Morente said, is aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Morente stressed the BI’s role as part of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). “During labor day, we remind ourselves of our duty as the last line of defense in protecting our kababayan from unscrupulous recruiters,” said Morente.

He said that the agency will remain committed in their fight against trafficking, and cited the country’s retention of its Tier 1 status in the United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Index.

A Tier 1 status in the TIP index shows that the country demonstrates appreciable progress each year in combatting trafficking.

Morente also urged aspiring OFWs to ensure that they only deal legitimate recruitment agencies duly-accredited by the government.

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