A 43-year-old female was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on Thursday during an attempted trafficking incident.
The victim, whose name was withheld following anti-trafficking laws, was intercepted while attempting to board a Philippine Airlines flight bound for Singapore.
A report from the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) stated that upon primary inspection, the immigration officers doubted the authenticity of her travel authority and referred her for secondary inspection. Upon closer scrutiny, it was confirmed that said travel authority was indeed fake.
A travel authority is a document required of all government employees stating that their agency has approved their travel abroad.
According to the report, “the victim was not sure which municipality she worked in”, which further raised doubts on the circumstances of her travel.
The victim later revealed that she had been recruited through a friend and had been communicating with her recruiter via text messaging.
Initial investigations reveal that she paid a sum of P15,000 to her recruiter, which was sent through an electronic payment app. She was required to delete her conversations with her recruiter upon transferring the amount.
The woman stated that she received her travel documents just moments before her departure at the airport. She later admitted that her true destination was Dubai, where she intended to seek employment or await her visa for Lebanon.
Fake government employee intercepted at NAIA
She was immediately referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and filing of appropriate charges against her recruiter.
“This incident shows that these traffickers will go to great lengths to elude strict immigration inspection,” said BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco. “Despite this, we remain committed to upholding the law and ensuring the safety of departing overseas workers,” he added.
Meanwhile, BI eyes forging a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with travel agencies to strengthen the fight against trafficking.
The collaborative effort, according to BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco, seeks to strengthen the commitment of the private sector in thwarting trafficking activities.
A similar agreement is likewise being eyed with both airline and shipping companies.