The Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently apprehended an American citizen who allegedly acted as a courier of a human trafficking syndicate and tried to smuggle six Filipinas out of the country.
In a statement issued yesterday, Commissioner Jaime Morente said Ramil Palafox and the Filipinas were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on Nov. 18 just as they were about to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Hong Kong.
During questioning, the six women, whose names the BI did not disclose, told the bureau that their actual destination was Dubai, where they would have worked as domestic helpers.
A report from the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit said the passengers claimed that Palafox was in possession of their United Arab Emirates visas.
He later reportedly took out the visas from his hand-carried bag after initially denying that he had them.
Morente added that all of 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 without Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) overseas employment certificates.
He urged would-be overseas workers to secure the necessary exit permits from the POEA so that they would enjoy government protection and are properly documented while they work abroad.
The suspect and his victims were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation and filing of charges. – Evelyn Macairan, Rudy Santos