The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday warned against traffickers preying on underaged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) after intercepting two Filipinas who falsified their birth dates to make it appear that they are fit to work abroad.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente again warned the public against being recruited by syndicates that provide their victims with fraudulent travel documents to facilitate their illegal employment overseas.
“Do not allow these syndicates to entice you to agree to these illegal methods because our officers at the airport are adept in spotting OFWs who are apparently underage and thus are ineligible for overseas job deployment,” Morente said.
“These recruiters will just leave you once they sense trouble,” he warned.
The immigration official cautioned Filipinos who have not yet reached the age requirement for OFWs to forego their plans to work abroad as they are most prone to suffer abuse and exploitation in foreign lands.
According to Morente, members of the Bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) intercepted the two women at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before they could board their flights to the Middle East.
One of them was stopped at the NAIA Terminal 3 last May 31 as she was about to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
In a report to Morente, TCEU Officers Richelda Bernal and April Tang documented the case of a certain “Sari” (not her real name), a female victim from Sultan Kudarat, who presented documents showing that she is already 27 years old.
However, after giving contradictory answers to questions when interviewed, she admitted that she is only 21 years old.
The woman allegedly claimed that her recruiter will withold her first three months of salary as a household service worker (HSW) in Qatar in exchange for processing her travel documents.
TCEU Officers Junuelle Paynor, Cristina Dayag, and Vincent Serrano also reported the case of a certain “Ria”, who was intercepted at the NAIA terminal 1 on June 1 before she could board a Gulf Air flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The woman’s travel documents purportedly showed she is already 26 years old but she later confessed during interview that she is only 19 years old.
She reportedly identified her handler as a certain Norah whom she met at her hometown in Pikit, Cotabato and who promised her a salary of P40,000 to work as a HSW.
Both victims were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance in filing cases against their recruiters. SOVEREIGNPH