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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

BI urged to investigate human
trafficking involving airline staff

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has urged officials of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to investigate the possible involvement of airline personnel in facilitating the departure of victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said he issued the appeal after BI officers at the NAIA terminal 3 intercepted a woman who attempted to leave with a fake immigration departure stamp on her passport.
Tansingco said the woman narrated during questioning that she was assisted by an airline employee and the latter’s former officemate in queuing at the immigration departure counter.
She said she was told to fall in line after her handler handed her passport and boarding pass which had the fake BI departure stamps on them.
The incident reportedly happened last April 5 when the passenger was supposed to fly to Kuala Lumpur en route to her final destination in the United Arab Emirates where she was recruited to work as a domestic household worker.
She was stopped from leaving after the BI officer who examined her passport noticed that it already had an immigration departure stamp that appeared to be spurious.  The BI’s document forensic laboratory later confirmed that said stamp is counterfeit.
Tansingco declined to name the airline associated with the passenger’s escorts, saying the case was already referred to and being investigated by NAIA’s anti-trafficking task force and its airport police department.
The BI chief said the incident should warn airline personnel that they should not connive with human traffickers and illegal recruiters.
“They should stop preying on our poor countrymen who want to work abroad due to poverty and their desire to uplift the lives of their families. We thus urge airport authorities to dig deeper into these shenanigans and file the cases against those involved,” the BI chief added.
It will be recalled that last year, NAIA security guards caught several passengers who attempted to leave without immigration inspection by wearing fake NAIA passes in going to the airport’s boarding gate.

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