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Human trafficking scheme uncovered

Operatives of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have uncovered a new modus operandi by human traffickers with the interception of a departing Filipina caught carrying a fake BI departure stamp.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the scheme was discovered when the trafficking victim, whose name was not divulged as the law forbids it, attempted to slip past the BI departure counter at the NAIA 3 terminal to avoid inspection by immigration officers.

The victim was supposed to board a Cathay Pacific flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when she was spotted by an immigration officer who referred her for secondary inspection to members of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU).

Morente said that when interviewed, the victim, who was disguised as a tourist, admitted that her purpose in going to Dubai was to work as a maid at the house of her niece’s Arab employer in the UAE.

“Afterwards, she brought out of her handbag a departure stamp and a stamp pad which she would use to stamp her passport and boarding pass upon reaching the boarding gate and before boarding her flight,” Morente said.

Due to the incident, the BI chief ordered Marc Red Mariñas, the BI’s port operations division chief, to field more BI intelligence agents at the NAIA’s departure areas to ensure that no passenger could sneak past the BI counters undetected and evade immigration inspection. (Jun Ramirez)