Five victims of human trafficking syndicates were recently stopped from leaving Clark International Airport in Mabalacat, Pampanga, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced today.
The victims, all women, were about to leave the airport as tourists but were actually planning to work overseas. They were intercepted in two separate incidents on May 8. Their flights were bound for Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to the BI’s statement, three of them were planning to work at a nightclub in Kota Kinabalu. The women said they learned about the job opening from the internet. They then met a man named Danilo in a Quezon City mall whom they paid a PHP10,000 (US$191.02) recruitment fee.
The two other victims were caught when they presented fake United Arab Emirates (UAE) visas at the airport. They admitted to BI officers that they were offered jobs in Beirut and that their recruiter allegedly told them that they shouldn’t reveal their real destination to authorities.
BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said that victims of human trafficking are sometimes forced into prostitution or made to work for salaries beyond industry standards.
“Illegal recruiters will put their victims in a tight spot. The victims, knowing that they entered through illegal means, would be forced to agree to the unfair work conditions given to them and would even be asked to pay via salary deduction hefty sums for their recruitment,” Medina said.
Commissioner Jaime Morente said that syndicates have diverted their trafficking operations outside Manila because there have been numerous interceptions at the capital’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The five victims were brought to the office of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Ermita, Manila where their cases will be investigated.