688 trafficking, illegal recruitment victims rescued in 2021: immigration bureau

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2022 03:34 PM

MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration said Sunday it rescued 688 possible victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment during the previous year.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said his bureau's officers had deferred the departure of 13,680 passengers in 2021, mostly because of improper documentation.

Of the figure, 491 were seen as possible human trafficking victims and were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and investigation, Morente said.

Meanwhile, 197 people were turned over to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, most of them presenting fake or questionable overseas work permits and job contracts.

Morente said there was also "a large number of minors and underage victims" who posed as legitimate workers but were intercepted at ports of exit.

The bureau reported 326 minor and underage victims, 18 of whom assumed identities of other people.

"Some common schemes that these human traffickers and illegal recruiters would employ is the issuance of fake documents or tampered visas to their victims, falsified marriages, the continued attempt to use tourist visas to work abroad, and duping underage Filipinos to work as household workers," Morente said.

The immigration chief warned aspiring overseas workers to not resort to such schemes.


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