The Bureau of Immigration has stopped 20 Filipinos believed to be human trafficking victims, attempting to leave the country for Africa.
Immigration agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport found their travel documents "spurious," GMA News reported Wednesday.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that all the male victims were stopped from leaving via NAIA Terminal 3 last June 8 as they were about to board an Emirates Airways flight to Dubai.
He said the victims initially claimed they were sent by a Malaysia-based company to Sao Tome and Principe, a small island-nation off the western coast of Central Africa.
Port Operations Division Chief Marc Red Mariñas noted that Immigration Officers doubted their purpose of travel when they noticed that the invitation presented was dubious, and the victims could not provide details about their purpose of travel.
It was later discovered that they were traveling to Sao Tome to work without proper documentation.
"Tinanong kami if gusto naming magtrabaho sa isang project sa Sao Tome, pumayag kami kasi malaki ang sweldo, (We were asked if we wanted to work at their project in Sao Tome. We agreed because we were offered good pay," one of the victims said.
BI Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said that the victims were offered construction jobs in Sao Tome.
She added the passengers were immediately referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation. —LBG, GMA News