MANILA -- Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently prevented suspected human trafficking victims from leaving the country.

According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the 11 victims disguised as tourists were intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 3 since last week.

“All of them were bound for countries other than what they presented, in an apparent effort to mislead immigration officers about their destination and purpose of travel,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

The BI noted that the plan is for the victims to depart Manila as tourists and upon reaching the next port, they would be handed their working visas and will be instructed to proceed via a connecting flight to their final work destinations.

All of them have been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.

Anthony Lopez, head of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) at NAIA 3, reported that last May 19, two passengers bound for Singapore were stopped from boarding their flights after it was found out that they were actually bound for Doha, Qatar to work.

They were allegedly accompanied by two employees of a manpower agency known to be recruiting Filipinos for overseas jobs via the Internet.

"They tried concealing their work visas in Qatar but they eventually admitted their true intention," he added.

On May 21, BI-TCEU personnel intercepted seven women disguised as tourists bound for Brunei for a vacation.

“They admitted during questioning that their final destination is Malaysia where they were recruited to work as waitresses. They were offered a salary of Php28,000 a month but had to pay a hefty placement fee to their recruiters. They didn't even know the real name of the person (who recruited them)," Lopez added.

The latest interception involved two passengers last May 27, who were stopped during their attempt to leave for Japan with their recruiter. The two admitted that they plan to go to Japan, then fly to South Korea to work without proper permits and that they paid PHP20,000 to their recruiter for assistance.

For his part, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente reminded Filipinos not to fall into such recruitment schemes that involve misrepresentation and deceit.

"These illegal recruiters only want to earn, but once a worker needs assistance, they suddenly disappear," he said. (PNA)