The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it thwarted on Saturday, an attempt by a syndicate to traffic three Filipinas who were recruited to work as sex workers in Taiwan.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the three victims and two of their suspected couriers were intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 3, before they could board a Cebu Pacific Air flight to Taipei.
Tansingco said the five passengers were subjected to further screening after giving inconsistent answers to questions by immigration officers, and for failure to explain the purpose and itinerary of their travel.
“We commend our immigration officers for successfully foiling this attempt to traffic these women who were lured to make a living as sex workers,” adding that the incident is a “clear case of human trafficking that the BI must combat to protect the well-being of Filipino women”.
Citing a report from the BI’s Immigration Protection and Border Enforcement Section (I-PROBES), Tansingco said the women initially claimed they are freelance models who were traveling to Taipei for a basic training course on the Chinese language.
BI rescues 3 women from sex trafficking, intercepts 2 recruiters
They, however, eventually confessed that they were recruited by someone on Facebook who offered them jobs as short-time sex workers for foreign customers in Taiwan. Their two female companions were identified by authorities as the ones who arranged their travel and processed their documents.
They were told that their income would depend on how much time they spend with their customers, and the types of activities that they will engage with them.
The victims also recounted that prior to their trip they were interviewed and screened inside a room in Malate, Manila where they were asked to strip naked so their bodies could be “assessed.”
All five passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and filing of appropriate charges against the recruiters.
Meanwhile, BI said six Filipinos pretending to be pilgrims to the Holy Land were stopped from leaving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the passengers were about to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Amman, Jordan, when they were intercepted by members of the BI’s Immigration Protection and Border Enforcement Section (I-PROBES) at the NAIA Terminal 1.