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All-out war vs human trafficking

Manila, Philippines – A top Bureau of Immigration (BI) official declared yesterday that the all-out war against human traffickers will be pursued relentlessly as long as there are Filipinos who are subjected to involuntary servitude and abusive working conditions abroad.

BI Associate Commissioner Abdullah Mangotara said there will be no letup in the bureau’s campaign against human trafficking because the syndicates involved do not stop in “exploiting the vulnerabilities of our poor countrymen.” Mangotara stressed that while the BI recognizes the right to travel of every Filipino, human trafficking poses a threat to the people’s right to life and liberty.

“There can be equivocating: The preservation of life and liberty is a higher calling, a higher duty that we must discharge and discharge without hesitation,“ Mangotara said while addressing a group of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East recently.

He said that the BI foresees cases of human trafficking to persist due to the consistent demand for Filipino labor and because of the belief among many Filipinos that working abroad will usher in better lives for them and their families.

“We cannot afford to fall asleep on our watch,“ Mangotara added, as he stressed that at stake in the bureau’s drive is the very survival of human trafficking victims.

Mangotara noted that despite the thousands of OFWs who were lucky to find high paying jobs overseas, there are also many victims of illegal recruiters who paid the price for their gullibility and misfortune. (Jun Ramirez)