MANILA -- Five women leaving for Malaysia and Lebanon were rescued from suspected human trafficking at the Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Wednesday.
The BI said the women attempted to leave the country on May 8 as tourists but were intercepted by Immigration officers before they could board their planes, which were bound for Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Three of the women were bound for the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu, where they were hired to work as entertainers, while the 2 were set to work as domestic helpers in Lebanon.
The 3 women were enticed by a job offer they received online, according to the BI.
The women were paid up to P10,000 for their recruitment and were told that their documents will be given to them in Hong Kong, said the BI.
The other 2 women, meanwhile, presented fake visas to UAE but admitted they were offered jobs in Beirut, Lebanon. They were reportedly told by their recruiter to not reveal their true destination.
"Obviously these women have been victimized by unscrupulous human trafficking syndicates that prey on the poor," said BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has alerted BI personnel in ports outside Manila to be on the lookout for other trafficking victims who might attempt to leave the country.
All five victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation and assistance.