FIVE female undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who attempted to leave the country in the guise of being tourists were nabbed by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga.
According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the passengers were intercepted in two separate incidents last May 8 by enforcement officers Kaypee Enebrad and Virgilio Jr. Notario for attempting to board their flights to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Three of the women were bound for Kota Kinabalu where they were hired to work as nightclub entertainers while the two were going to work in Lebanon as domestic helpers.
All five were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.
Medina said the three were allegedly enticed by a job offer they received online, and met a certain ‘Danilo’ in a mall in Quezon City where they reportedly paid up to P10,000 for their recruitment. They admitted to have been offered to work in a pub in Kota Kinabalu, and that their documents will be given to them in Hong Kong.
On the other hand, the two were said to have presented fake visas to UAE. On inquiry, they admitted to have been offered jobs in Beirut, and were instructed by their recruiter not to reveal their true destination.
‘Obviously, these women have been victimized by unscrupulous human trafficking syndicates that prey on the poor. We must pursue cases against these illegal recruiters to protect our fellow Filipinos from exploitation in foreign lands,’ said Medina, adding that during Inter-Agency meetings, they learned that the victims would sometimes be lured into prostitution, or be enslaved and given salaries far below industry standards.
He added: ‘illegal recruiters will put their victims in a tight spot. The victims, knowing that they entered through illegal means, would be forced to agree to the unfair work conditions given to them and would even be asked to pay via salary deduction hefty sums for their recruitment.’