By Ferdinand Patinio

Photo courtesy of DOJ

MANILA – A suspected human trafficker with seven of his suspected victims were recently intercepted by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Parañaque City.

In a statement on Friday, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the trafficker and her victims attempted to depart on board a Philippine Airlines flight to Bangkok last March 1.

Tansingco said the victims initially claimed to be a set of friends traveling abroad for a vacation, but scrutiny of their documents revealed inconsistencies, the immigration officer referred them for secondary inspection, where they admitted to being bound for Laos to work as customer service representatives.

The victims said they are set to fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand before traveling to Laos by boat, and have been offered a monthly salary of around PHP40,000.

The victims received the job offer via Facebook and online messaging service Telegram.

They also admitted that fake IDs and other documents were given to them by their escort right outside the airport before their flight.

“The escort traveled with them but claimed to be traveling alone to Thailand when she went through immigration. We were able to intercept her, and she was positively identified as an accomplice of the recruiter,” Tansingco said.

The trafficker was turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to face charges.

The BI also reported the interception of another female trafficking victim bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The victim was intercepted last March 3 at the NAIA Terminal 3 after attempting to depart on board a Cebu Pacific Airlines flight to Dubai.

The woman claimed to be traveling to the UAE alone for tourism purposes but later admitted to accepting a job offer received via Facebook.

She was allegedly recruited as a household service worker and was offered a PHP20,000 monthly salary. (PNA)