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Seven suspected victims of human traffickings were rescued by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after they were intercepted for possessing spurious travel documents. “These fraud syndicates continue to ignore our warnings. There will be no letup in our campaign against human trafficking and their victims will not be allowed to leave if they are caught,” said Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente. Morente issued the statement after the seven passengers were stopped from leaving the country last week in three separate instances at Terminals 3 and 1 of the NAIA.

The latest interception involved five passengers who pretended to be tourists in attempting to leave for Malaysia last Oct. 5 at NAIA 3. “They admitted paying their recruiters fees ranging from P125,000 to P175,000 each in exchange for processing their jobs and travel papers to Australia, which was their final destination,” said Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina. The passengers were reportedly accompanied by a woman who was also stopped due to a pending court cases of estafa and illegal recruitment. ‘They also presented fraudulently manufactured employee IDs which were given to them by their handlers to make it appear that they are gainfully employed here and are thus legitimate tourists,” Medina added. Earlier, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that a Malaysia-bound woman was intercepted also at NAIA 3 last Sept. 24 for having a spurious United Kingdom visa and tampered pages on her passport. “We also discovered that she was already previously barred from leaving the country on suspicion of being a tourist worker,” Bureau of Immigration-TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said. On Oct. 2, TCEU members also stopped from leaving an underage overseas Filipino worker who misrepresented her age by falsifying her date of birth. All seven passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

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