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10 human trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA

Philippine authorities have intercepted 10 Filipino human trafficking victims at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) who were bound for Russia to illegaly work there.

The 10, who were stopped at the NAIA departure area as they were about to board a Qatar Airlines flight to Moscow, claimed they were going to Russia to study the Russian language but would seek employment after finishing the course.

The Philippines has been trying to impress the United States with its anti-human trafficking drive in order for Washington to lift the Tier 2 ranking it gave to Manila in its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Those in Tier 2 ranking are “(c)ountries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s [Trafficking Victims Protection Act] minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards."

The 2013 report, released in June, monitors the compliance of countries in relation to standards in fighting human trafficking.

Floro Balato of the Immigration’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) said five of the passengers were initially invited for questioning after they were spotted queuing at the immigration counter. Two of them reportedly admitted that they were offloaded last March when they tried to leave for Doha, Qatar.

The passengers then informed the TCEU that five of their companions were already at the airport’s boarding gate. The five, however, were stopped by alert TCEU members at the airport’s Gate No. 15 before they could board their plane.

All 10 passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation.
BI officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison said the incident should again serve as a warning to would-be overseas contract workers against attempting to leave without the required overseas employment permits from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“We remain vigilant in our campaign against human trafficking and there will be no letup in our efforts to frustrate the schemes of these syndicates that prey on our poor countrymen,” Mison said.

Their names were not divulged as the anti-trafficking law prohibits the public disclosure of human traffickers and their victims. — KBK, GMA News