The country’s Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reported yesterday that they have noticed a rising trend where women under the age of 21 are using fraudulent documents to work as overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
Manila Bulletin reports that since June this year, 114 women under 21 have been caught at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for using fake documents to leave the country. These include passports, overseas employment permits, working visas, and job contracts.
According to Marc Red Mariñas, the acting immigration deputy commissioner, and Port Operations Division chief, in June alone, 67 of those young women confessed to immigration officers that they were minors.
Mariñas told The Philippine Daily Inquirer that a syndicate is behind the production of these fraudulent documents. He said: “It is evident that these young women were victimized by syndicates that specialize in the procurement of documents to make it appear that they are old enough to work abroad.”
Mariñas ordered immigration officers at the NAIA to be stricter when it comes to screening departing passengers to ensure that they are presenting valid documents.
The Journal Online reported that just on August 2, four girls were stopped from boarding a flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. According to a report from the BI-NAIA Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, it turned out that they were younger than 21 although their passports indicated that they were in their late 20s.
The case was then sent to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation.
In July, the Philippine National Police (PNP) raided the house of an alleged illegal recruiter by the name of Tor Bella in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The PNP also discovered 41 women, some of whom were minors, living in a house adjacent to Bella’s home. The women were recruited by Bella to become domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.