MANILA - Authorities intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 5 girls passing themselves as adults in order to work abroad, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Tuesday.
The victims aroused the suspicion of immigration officers when they attempted to board a flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the NAIA Terminal 1.
"This is a clear case of human trafficking involving a syndicate that sends young girls to work abroad by letting them assume the identities of older women through falsification and tampering of travel documents,” said Marc Red Mariñas, BI's officer-in-charge deputy commissioner.
The girls were in possession of valid overseas employment certificates, employment contracts, and working visas.
"They were evasive and gave inconsistent answers when asked about their age and date of birth during secondary inspection," added Mariñas, also the agency’s port operations division chief.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has called on immigration officers to be more vigilant in screening departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The incident came barely a week after a 17-year-old girl was barred from leaving NAIA for posing herself as 23-year-old. She was also bound for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The victims were immediately turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.