Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the international airport in Mactan, Cebu intercepted a family of three Africans suspected to be victims of an international human trafficking syndicate operating in the country.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the three passengers from Senegal, which included two minors and their mother, were intercepted last March 30 when they attempted to leave for South Korea with questionable travel papers.
“It appears that these Africans were victimized by a trafficking syndicate that uses the Philippines as a transit point for smuggling illegal aliens to other countries,” Tansingco added.
The BI intelligence division reported that the passengers were supposed to board a Korean Airlines flight to Seoul when they were intercepted.
They were stopped from leaving after immigration officers noticed that their Senegalese passports do not have immigration arrival stamps on them.
When asked why their passports do not have arrival stamps and how they arrived in the country, they claimed that they arrived in the country on board a boat.
The female Senegalese and her two children were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Cebu for assistance, prior to their return to their originating port.
BI stops African trafficking victims at Mactan airport
“This incident proves that human trafficking is not just a Philippine problem. It is a global problem that should be combatted through the combined efforts of all governments throughout the world,” the BI chief stressed.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed on heightened alert its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and in the other international ports nationwide in anticipation of a large influx of international passengers during the Lenten break.
Tansingco said the BI has also fielded more than a hundred added immigration officers to the NAIA to augment the number of manpower manning the immigration booths in the arrival and departure areas of the premiere port.
According to the BI chief, he has instructed the bureau’s terminal heads in the airports to implement stricter measures in screening passengers and deter any attempts by human trafficking syndicates to take advantage of the occasion in spiriting their victims out of the country.