The Bureau of Immigration intercepted six Filipino women believed to be victims of human trafficking syndicate who tried to leave for South Korea with bogus travel papers at the Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the women were barred from boarding their flight aboard a JinAir bound for Incheon, South Korea, but were held after immigration authorities discovered that their papers were dubious.
The women, whose names were withheld, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation and assistance, Medina said.
“The women were recruited to work as nightclub entertainers in South Korea and that they were holders of entertainer’s visas issued by the Korean embassy,” he said.
However, the Overseas Employment Certificates they presented turned out to be dubious, and details indicated in the documents did not match their records in the BI database.
He reported the women later identified a fixer named “Mercy” who lives in Cavite as the one who processed their travel documents.
The passengers were allegedly able to obtain their dubious OEC printouts via the Internet by entering information provided by the said fixer.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a directive alerting BI personnel in all the international ports nationwide on the recurring modus operandi of the syndicate responsible for victimizing women who wish to work in Korea.
The BI chief said the Bureau would never allow Filipino women to be trafficked abroad via the said scheme as previous cases had shown that many of these victims are lured into prostitution against their will.
“Our duty is to protect Filipinos who are vulnerable to being tricked by this scheme,” said Morente. “We are sharing this story for awareness, so that aspiring OFWs will not accept offers from illegal recruiters,” he added.
Under the law, departing OFWs are required an OEC from the POEA.