Immigration authorities foiled last week an attempt by an American citizen to smuggle six female workers out of the country to illegally work abroad, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said in a statement Thursday.
The victims were intercepted on November 18 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 before they could board a Philippine Airlines flight to Hong Kong, said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Morente said the passengers, who posed as tourists, admitted during questioning that their actual destination was Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where they were hired to work as domestic helpers.
The victims as well as the suspect, Ramil Palafox, were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation and filing of charges, Morente added.
According to the BI, the victims were previously barred on separate occasions from leaving the country by immigration officers at the NAIA who discovered that their real intention in going abroad was to work.
Following this, Morente urged would-be OFWs to secure the necessary exit permits from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration so that they would enjoy government protection and are properly documented while they work abroad.
"We are again serving notice to our countrymen who wish to work abroad. Do not deal with illegal recruiters as they will only put you in harm’s way,” said Morente in a statement. —Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News