BI tightens screening of arriving Vietnamese suspected of being victims of human trafficking ring

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has tightened the screening of arriving Vietnamese at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) following intelligence reports that many of them were victims of human trafficking syndicate who were forced to work as laborers, factory workers, vendors and masons.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente instructed the immigration officers at NAIA to thoroughly screen Vietnamese to make sure they have valid and legitimate purposes in traveling to the country.

"Those who could not satisfactorily explain their travel purpose should be turned back as they could be victims of human trafficking recruited by the said syndicate," Morente said.

"The Philippines should not only stop being a source of human trafficking victims. We must also not allow our country to be a destination for them," the BI chief said.

Morente issued the order after the bureau stumbled on the operations of a human trafficking syndicate that facilitates the travel to the Philippines of Vietnamese hired to work as manual laborers in various places throughout the country.

The syndicate's activities were uncovered after 178 overstaying Vietnamese surrendered to the BI assisted by the Vietnamese Embassy.

BI spokesman Atty. Antonette Mangrobang said the foreigners admitted they all came here to work.

The overstaying Vietnamese worked here as househelpers, vendors, porters, carpenters and other blue collar jobs and that they were deployed in various places in the provinces such as Cagayan, Pangasinan, Bataan, Zambales, Batangas and Leyte.

Some of them have been illegally working for about two to three but did not secure an extension of their visas due to financial constraints.

The foreigners were reportedly enticed to come and work here in order to support their families in Vietnam.

Source: Daily Tribune