Operation specialists from the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) arrested three illegal recruiters at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport last Tuesday (September 10) for alleged human trafficking and illegal recruitment involving economic sabotage.
The trio allegedly disguised their operation using a supposed pre-nuptial photo-shoot to Taiwan with the persons they promised jobs abroad.
Human Traffickers of OFWs to Dubai Thwarted in Mactan-Cebu Airport
The supposed couple – Kevin Parejas Casas (23) of Marikina City and Maricris Ria Villegas Delgado (25) of Antipolo City — and Kevin’s sister Rea Parejas Casas (32) were caught in the act by NBI officials of actually bringing four persons they illegally recruited to work in Dubai, to Taiwan, as shared in a report by the Cebu Daily News.
Because of this, seven passengers including the trio were offloaded from the plane bound for Taiwan Tuesday morning. They were turned over to Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking-Mactan Cebu International Airport (IACAT-MCIA) and Bureau of Immigration Mactan-Cebu International Airport for further investigation as suspected illegal recruits.
As per the investigation, four of the off-loaded passengers were victims of human trafficking.
For his part, NBI-7 Director Tomas Enrile said the victims identified the Casas siblings and Delgado as their recruiters who offered them work in Dubai. They also reported that they were bound for Dubai via Taiwan for employment.
The victims claimed that they were instructed by Rea Casas to meet with her group who would facilitate their departure from the Philippines to Taiwan, where they will stay for a few days to get their tourist visas for Dubai.
The plan, supposedly, was for them to work as house helpers and they were promised that they would later have working visas in Dubai.
Furthermore, the victims shared that prior to their departure, they were instructed to say that they were a group of friends going on a tour for the prenuptial photo-shoot of the couple, Kevin Casas and Maricris Delgado.
For its part, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) also confirmed that the three persons were not authorized to hire and deploy workers overseas, according to Enrile.
The suspects are now in the custody of authorities at the NBI-Cevro, while documents of transfer to the Cebu City Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are being sorted.
The four illegal recruits – two from Cebu, one from Mindanao, and one from Luzon have all returned home after their statements were received for the investigation of the case according to Enrile.
Human trafficking, in itself, is not the cause of the problem for many overseas Filipino workers, but it is the work conditions that they eventually have to deal with, as well as the risk for abuse of these workers by people who do not hold legal responsibility over their welfare, that are more problematic in the long run.