By JUN RAMIREZ
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has intercepted six suspected human trafficking victims bound for South Korea at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga using fake travel documents.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Port Operations Chief Grifton Medina said the passengers, all women, were intercepted before they could board a JinAir flight for Incheon, South Korea last Nov.8.
The women, whose names were not divulged following anti-trafficking laws, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and assistance.
Initial investigation revealed 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 (OEC) they presented turned out to be dubious, and details indicated in the documents did not match their records in the BI database.
Medina said the women later identified a fixer named “Mercy” who lives in Cavite as the one who processed their travel papers.
The passengers were allegedly able to obtain their fake OEC printouts via the Internet by entering information provided by the fixer.
The incident prompted Morente to issue a directive alerting BI personnel in all the international ports nationwide on the recurring modus operandi of the syndicate responsible for victimizing women who wish to work abroad.
The BI chief said the bureau will never allow Filipino women to be sent abroad via the said scheme as previous cases have shown that many of these victims are lured into prostitution..
“Our duty is to protect Filipinos who are vulnerable to being tricked by this scheme,” said Morente, adding that “we are sharing this story for awareness, so that aspiring OFWs will not accept offers from illegal recruiters,.
Under the law, departing OFWs are required an OEC from the POEA.(Jun Ramirez)