Underaged OFW bound to Saudi with fake docs intercepted at NAIA

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Larawan mula sa PNA

MANILA, Philippines – A female overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), who allegedly misrepresented her age and presented fake documents was intercepted by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers on Tuesday morning.

In its report, BI said that its officers stations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 stopped the trafficking victim before she was able to board a Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-bound Philippine Airlines flight to work as a household service worker (HSW).

Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the OFW, who was 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,” he said. “She was obviously younger than her presented age,” he added.

The victim was able to present a passport with a valid working visa stating that she was 24 years old.

But officers were able to discover that the birth certificate she carried was altered.

Existing labor policies require HSWs working in the Middle East to be at least 24 years old.

Tansingco said the immigration officer who processed the victim’s passport “doubted the authenticity of the supporting document, and submitted it for tertiary check to our forensic documents laboratory.”

Then, they were able to confirm that the year of birth and other details in the birth certificate was altered.

Despite this, he said that the victim was able to secure identification documents and a visa.

The victim, who hails from Sultan Kudarat, was unable to read or write, which Tansingco said 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,” said Tansingco. “This is a clear case of trafficking that abuses the vulnerabilities of our young ones,” the BI chief added.

BI said victim was referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and prosecution against her recruiters.