BI personnel probed for clearing 4 Pinay ‘trafficking victims’

By Ferdinand Patinio

April 27, 2023, 10:44 am

MANILA – An immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been relieved of his duties in connection with the interception of four human trafficking victims last April 21, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Thursday.

According to BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco, the unnamed personnel is now undergoing investigation for supposedly clearing the female victims who were being trafficked to work in Lebanon.

“Corruption has no place in our agency. Immediate action against employees who are possibly conniving with these syndicates will serve as a big deterrent to others who might be thinking of following suit,” Tansingco said in a statement.

The BI chief noted that three of the victims were already cleared for departure when they were intercepted after attempting to board an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur last April 21.

Separately, another female victim bound for Bangkok was intercepted on the same day after attempting to depart via a Cebu Pacific flight.

The passengers initially claimed that they will be touring abroad, but later confessed that their final destination is Lebanon, where they were recruited to work as household workers.

“Sending people abroad without proper documents, let alone to countries with existing deployment bans, raises security threats for our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) even more,” Tansingco said.

The victims further told BI agents that they were recruited by a certain “Helen” who they met on Facebook and provided them with travel documents.

They also disclosed that they were all allegedly instructed by their recruiter to queue for clearance at a specific immigration booth.

The victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and filing of cases against their recruiters. (PNA)