BUREAU of Immigration (BI) authorities at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga intercepted six suspected human trafficking victims who attempted to leave for South Korea with bogus travel papers.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the passengers, all women, were intercepted last November 8 before they could board a JinAir flight bound for Incheon, South Korea. The women, whose names may not be divulged following anti-trafficking laws, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and assistance, Medina said.
Initial investigation revealed that the women were recruited to work as nightclub entertainers in South Korea and that they were holders of entertainer’s visas issued by the Korean Embassy. However, the Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) they presented turned out to be dubious, and details indicated in the documents did not match their records in the BI database. Under the law, departing OFWs are required an OEC from the POEA.
Grifton reported that the women later identified a fixer named “Mercy” who lives in Cavite as the one who processed their travel documents.
The passengers were allegedly able to obtain their dubious OEC printouts via the Internet by entering information provided by the said fixer.
The incident prompted an alert to all the international ports nationwide on the recurring modus operandi of the syndicate responsible for victimizing women who wish to work in Korea.