SEVEN Filipinos were barred from leaving the country for possession of spurious travel documents, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the seven were suspected victims of human trafficking after they admitted paying the recruiters in exchange for jobs abroad.
The seven, who were not identified, were intercepted in three separate instances at Terminals 1 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The five passengers pretended to be tourists attempting to leave for Malaysia last October 5 at NAIA Terminal 3.
Immigration port operations division chief Grifton Medina said the five passengers admitted paying their recruiters fees ranging from P125,000 to P175,000 each in exchange for processing their jobs and travel papers to Australia, which was their final destination.
The passengers were reportedly accompanied by a woman who was also stopped over pending cases of estafa and illegal recruitment.
“They also presented fraudulently manufactured employee IDs which were given to them by their handlers to make it appear that they are gainfully employed here and are thus legitimate tourists,” Medina said.
The BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that a Malaysia-bound woman was intercepted also at NAIA 3 on September 24 for having a spurious United Kingdom visa and tampered pages on her passport.
The TCEU also discovered that the woman was previously barred from leaving the country on suspicion of being a tourist worker.
TCEU members on October 2 also stopped from leaving an underage overseas Filipino worker who misrepresented her age by falsifying her date of birth.
All seven passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation. BENJAMIN L. VERGARA