Immigration officials intercepted recently seven Filipinas bound for the UAE after they allegedly presented fake working permits.
Three of the Filipinas, according to Ma. Timotea Barizo, chief of the Bureau of Immigration travel control and enforcement unit, are supposed to work as caregivers while the rest were hired as marketing and sales agents for an interior design company in Dubai.
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Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente noted that all seven women who were supposed to head to Dubai had been intercepted at the immigration departure area at Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Philippine Star reported.
Upon verification, authorities noted that the overseas employment certificates (OECs) presented by the Filipinas were not in the records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), while the others appear to have been issued to other persons.
“Verification showed that some of them do not have records with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration,” said Barizo.
She added that the women whom they believed were victims of human trafficking, presented tourist visas.
Upon review of their documents, the women were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and further investigation.
Later on, it was revealed that the women had met their handlers and recruiters through social media and their travel papers were only handed to them before their scheduled flights, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente reported.
In line with this, the commissioner urged the public not to deal with unregistered employment agencies as human trafficking rings have resumed illegal recruitment operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that the traffickers are taking advantage of our kababayans who are in dire need of jobs.
The efforts demonstrated by the Philippine immigration officials highlight its commitment together with the UAE in combating human trafficking from within its borders.