Three underage overseas Filipino workers, all women, and believed victims of a human trafficking syndicate, were intercepted by Bureau of Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, the three OFWs were apprehended at the NAIA terminal 1 as they were about to board a Gulf Air flight to Saudi Arabia.
Medina declined to divulge the names of the passengers due to a prohibition in the anti-trafficking law against publicly disclosing the identities of trafficking victims.
“They all presented passports with false birthdates to make it appear that they meet the age requirement for household service workers which is 23 years and above,” according to Commissioner Jaime Morente.
He added the women were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation.
NAIA 1’s BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit head supervisor Glenn Ford Comia said that as in the case of the underage OFW who was apprehended last week, those who were intercepted last March 17 also presented valid overseas employment certificates, job contracts and working visas.
“However, their passports did not contain true and correct information on their dates of birth,” Comia said.
Two of the women claimed they were 24 and 25 years of age, when they were both 22 years old while the other one claimed she was 24 years old but actually only 20.
Last March 13, officers of the bureau at the NAIA 1 intercepted a 21-year-old female OFW disguised as a 25-year-old.
The incident prompted Morente to order a stricter screening of all departing OFWs to make sure they are old and mature enough for overseas job deployment.
“These underage women are prone to abuse and exploitation in foreign lands and are being victimized by syndicates exploiting them,” the BI chief said.
“To those seeking greener pastures abroad, do not fall for this scheme,” he warned.