BI Rescues Trafficking Victim Allegedly Using Fake Birth Certificate to Work Abroad
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted a human trafficking victim who uses fake birth certificate.
The scheme was discovered after a female overseas Filipino worker (OFW) was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 3 last Sunday for attempting to board a Qatar Airways flight to Saudi Arabia, according to BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) officers in a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
During questioning, the trafficking victim admitted to falsifying her travel credentials by taking the name of a friend in her hometown in Mindanao. Her birth certificate was apparently loaned to her by a friend so she could apply for a passport that would allow her to work as a household service worker (HSW) in Saudi Arabia.
“By assuming the identity of another person, she was able to secure a Philippine passport under a different name and with a different date of birth. This enabled her to obtain an overseas work permit from the government and her employment visa and job contract in Saudi Arabia,” Manahan added.
The victim’s passport purportedly showed that she was already 24 years old, despite the fact that she admitted to being just 20 years old when interviewed. In the Middle East, the minimum age limit for HSW deployment remains at 23.
The victim also stated that she obtained other identification documents, such as her TIN card and postal ID, using her friend’s birth certificate. Morente cautioned would-be OFWs not to fall for the scam, claiming that BI officers at the airport are skilled at recognizing and profiling young OFWs.
“There’s a syndicate behind this illegal recruitment of minors and underage women,” said Morente. “For the past five years we have intercepted and stopped the departure of hundreds of these underage OFWs so our officers at the airports are always vigilant and on the lookout for these passengers,” the BI Chief added.
Recruiters of minor OFWs were said to have falsified their victims’ birth dates in the past by filing for late registration or submitting fraudulent birth certificates from the local civil registrar. He cautioned that those who collude with trafficking gangs and ‘lend’ their identities face the same legal consequences.
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