Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco expressed his dismay at the interception of another trafficking victim attempting to depart the country.
Tansingco referred to the interception of alias Lia, who attempted to depart for Muscat, Oman, on Monday as an overseas Filipino worker.
“Our alert primary inspection officer noticed that she seemed very young compared to her presented document, she was referred for secondary inspection,” said Tansingco.
The officers noted that alias Lia presented herself as 30 years old to work as a household service worker in Oman.
“The immigration officers had reason to believe that she is underage, given the numerous inconsistencies in her statements and passports,” said Tansingco.
Alias Lia later admitted that her passport, birth certificates, and other documents were processed in Marawi through an agent. She said that she has been staying in an accommodation owned by her agency in Paranaque for 6 months and that all her documents were merely handed to her outside the airport right before her flight.
Another underage OFW bound for Oman stopped
In the Philippines, the minimum age for deployment as HSWs is 24 years old. In the past, the BI has intercepted numerous cases of fraud involving Filipino victims who were made to seem older than they really are to be able to circumvent the age requirement.
“We are worried that this might mean that there is a resurgence of the modus,” said Tansingco. “Hence we are forwarding this to the proper authorities for further investigation to be able to catch these recruiters,” he added.
The victim was endorsed to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and filing of cases against her recruiters.
Meanwhile, BI announced the arrest of a South Korean national wanted by authorities in his country for trading illegal drugs.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, the BI’s fugitive search unit (FSU) said 43-year-old Park Yong was arrested last Thursday at his residence in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The FSU operatives who arrested Park were reportedly armed with a warrant from Tansingco, who signed the same pursuant to a summary deportation order that the BI board of commissioners issued against the Korean in December last year.