PNA file photo

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said several rescued human trafficking victims were recruited through social media advertisements.

In a statement, the BI said the two Laos-bound victims were intercepted at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga after pretending to be seafarers on May 24.

“The victims, when interviewed, narrated that they were recruited to work in Laos via an advertisement they saw on social media. They said they each paid PHP40,000 to their handlers in exchange for processing their bogus travel documents,” it said.

The immigration officers, however, found their documents questionable, with Thailand as their indicated destination.

Victims then admitted they were recruited as “call center agents” in Laos.

“The modus operandi here is for the victims to initially fly to Thailand where they would then board their connecting flight to Laos,” Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said.

Besides Laos, the BI has been monitoring reports of the same scheme against Filipinos being recruited to work in Cambodia and Myanmar.

Another five rescued

Five other possible female trafficking victims, supposedly bound for Thailand and Singapore, were also intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 last May 30.

Immigration officers had to prevent them from boarding for misrepresentations considering their questionable documents alongside inconsistent claims.

“We suspect that the four Bangkok-bound passengers are prone to become trafficking victims as they admitted they were hired to work in Chiang Rai province which borders Thailand with Myanmar, a known destination of trafficking victims recruited by crypto scam operators,” Tansingco said.

The Singapore-bound victim, meanwhile, admitted she was recruited as a nightclub entertainer.

Amid the rising reports of recruitment scams abroad, the BI vowed to further intensify efforts to combat human trafficking.

“So long as human trafficking persists, there will be no letup in our campaign to fight this menace to our society,” Tansingco said. (PNA)