Friday, June 9, 2023

BI Seeks Probe On Airline Personnel ‘Links’ To Human Trafficking


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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has urged Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) officials to investigate the possible involvement of airline personnel in facilitating the departure of victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Commissioner Norman Tansingco issued the appeal after immigration officers at the NAIA Terminal 3 intercepted a woman who attempted to leave with a fake immigration departure stamp on her passport on April 5.

In a statement Monday, the BI chief said the woman claimed during questioning that she was assisted by an airline employee and the latter’s former officemate in queuing at the immigration departure counter.

She was supposed to fly to Kuala Lumpur en route to her final destination in the United Arab Emirates where she was recruited to work as a domestic household worker.

The passenger was stopped from leaving after the BI officer who examined her passport noticed that it already had an immigration departure stamp that appeared to be spurious.

The BI’s document forensic laboratory later confirmed that the stamp is counterfeit.

Tansingco declined to name the airline associated with the passenger’s escorts, as the case was already referred to and being investigated by NAIA’s anti-trafficking task force and its airport police department.

He added that the incident should warn airline personnel that they should not connive with human traffickers and illegal recruiters.

“They should stop preying on our poor countrymen who want to work abroad due to poverty and their desire to uplift the lives of their families. We thus urge airport authorities to dig deeper into these shenanigans and file the cases against those involved,” Tansingco said.

Last year, NAIA security guards caught several passengers who attempted to leave without immigration inspection by wearing fake NAIA passes in going to the airport’s boarding gate. (PNA)

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