MANILA — Three more underage women recruited to work abroad were intercepted by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
According to BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina, they were apprehended while they were about to board a Gulf Air flight to Saudi Arabia last Sunday.
“They all presented passports with false birthdates to make it appear that they met the age requirement for household service workers, which is 23 years and above,” he said in a statement Thursday.
The names of the passengers were withheld due to a prohibition in the anti-trafficking law against publicly disclosing the identities of trafficking victims.
Medina said the women have been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.
On the other hand, head supervisor Glenn Ford Comia, BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) at NAIA 1, noted that two of the women alleged that they are 24 and 25 years of age, when they are both 22 years old, while the other one claimed to be 24 years old but is only 20.
He added that the victims have presented valid overseas employment certificates, job contracts and working visas.
Last week, BI officers in the terminal intercepted a 21-year-old female disguised as a 25-year-old, who was also bound for abroad.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente earlier ordered stricter screening of all departing OFWs to make sure that they are old enough to land a job overseas.
“These underage women are prone to abuse and exploitation in foreign lands, and are being victimized by syndicates exploiting them,” he said. (PNA)