PNA

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (Photo courtesy of BI)

MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned the public about another trafficking scheme luring women to work in sex trade abroad.

In a belated report released Easter Sunday, the BI said it stopped a female victim and her supposed partner on March 22 from departing for Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

They claimed to be live-in partners traveling for a vacation.

The immigration officers noted that the male companion had a very recent travel to Malaysia.

A quick check of his records revealed that he previously left with another female who he claimed was also his partner, but who has not returned to the Philippines to date.

“This seems like another case of the bitbit (carry) scheme, in which a frequent traveler would attempt to transport a female victim who will be deceived into working as a sex worker abroad,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement.

The victim was turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance, while the trafficker faces possible cases for violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

Tansingco cited a 2023 case wherein the victim illegally boarded a sailboat in Palawan to travel to Malaysia. 

The victim reportedly traveled through mountainous terrains to reach a hotel in Sibu, Malaysia where they were housed as sex workers.

“She was held captive.  Disturbingly, she was subjected to appalling conditions, including being denied food if she failed to satisfy the demands of her captors.  She was even forced to undergo abortion when they discovered she was with child,” Tansingco recalled.

He called for increased awareness for women, urging them not to agree to such terms to be able to work abroad. (PR/PNA)