Bureau of Immigration (BI) operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted seven suspected human trafficking victims who tried to leave for Iraq disguised as tourists.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the group was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 1 before they could board a Scoot Airways flight to Singapore.
Tansingco said the passengers, all women, admitted during questioning that their final destination was Erbil, Iraq where they were supposed to work as janitress with a monthly pay of $1,000.
The government has banned the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Iraq due to pervasive violence in that country.
Tansingco said the women were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and filing of charges against their recruiters.
The women’s names were not divulged as the law prohibits public disclosure of human trafficking victims’ identities.
The investigators said the women disclosed that their travel to Iraq was arranged by a travel agency based in Makati.
Upon arrival in Singapore, the group was supposed to board connecting flights to Dubai or Qatar en route to Iraq.
The victims also revealed that at least 30 Filipinos were recruited by the syndicate to work in Iraq for the same employer.