By Jun Ramirez
Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have apprehended an illegal recruiter and one of his victims by making it appear that the latter was his employee.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) port operations chief Grifton Medina said the 40-year-old suspect and his 34-year-old female victim were stopped recently from leaving the country as they were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
The anti-trafficking law prohibits the public disclosure of the names of human traffickers and their victims.
“The suspect insisted that the victim is employed as a sales and marketing assistant in his travel consultancy firm, and that the company ID and business card presented by his companion are genuine,” Medina said.
However, upon prodding, Medina said the victim confessed that she paid the suspect P25,000 to facilitate her travel abroad and that the identification documents she showed were only given by her alleged recruiter.
It was also learned that the victim had in her possession a working visa and a connecting ticket to the United Arab Emirates where she was hired to work as a sales person.
According to BI travel control and enforcement unit chief Timotea Barizo, a check of the bureau’s travel database showed it was not the first time that the alleged recruiter facilitated the trip of his victims out of the country.
“Our records show that on May 9 last year he left the country with two female companions on the pretext that they were traveling as tourists and would return three days later. Instead, he came back alone and left his companions abroad.” she said
The incident prompted BI Commissioner Jaime Morente to reiterate his warning to prospective overseas workers to be wary of unscrupulous persons offering to facilitate their travel through misrepresentation and use of fraudulent documents.
“These bogus documents are easily recognizable to our immigration officers,” Morente said.