Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents have intercepted a young female worker who intends to work as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, but presented documents indicating she was much older.
BI officers stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 interdicted the young passenger before she was able to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Jeddah.
Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the girl, who was apparently victimized by an unscrupulous agency, presented documents stating that she is 24 years old.
“However, it was apparent in her demeanor that something was off. She was obviously younger than her presented age,” he added.
Current policies require prospective overseas Filipino workers eyeing jobs in the Middle East to be at least 24 years old.
“The immigration officer who processed her passport doubted the authenticity of the supporting document, and submitted it for tertiary check to our forensic documents laboratory,” said Tansingco.
“There we were able to confirm that the year of birth and other details in the birth certificate was altered,” he added.
Despite this, the victim was able to secure identification documents and a visa.
Tansingco shared that the victim, who hails from Sultan Kudarat, was unable to read or write, which may have been abused by her recruiters to make her agree to the scheme.
“We suspect that she may be less than 20 years old, and possibly even be a minor. This is a clear case of trafficking that abuses the vulnerabilities of our young ones,” he added.
The victim was referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and prosecution against her recruiters.