Saudi-bound OFWs intercepted for falsifying age, Morente calls for investigation on traffickers

Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga—Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) intercepted two female overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Jeddah for misrepresenting their age.

In a report to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, Travel Control and Enforcement Unit officers Maria Clarissa Bartolome and Kaypee Enebrad detailed the interception of the duo last Thursday, after being suspected of falsifying their age to qualify to work as Household Service Workers (HSWs) abroad.

The duo, whose names were withheld following existing anti-trafficking laws, hailed from Cotabato and presented themselves to be 26 and 27 years old. They attempted to fly to Saudi Arabia via Qatar Airways flight no. 931.

Upon interview by the immigration officers, both reportedly gave highly inconsistent statements about their personal details.

“It was later confirmed that they have misrepresented their age, and they admitted that their documents were merely processed for them by their recruiter,” said Morente.

It can be recalled that the minimum age for deployment for HSWs is 23 years old.

The case comes only weeks after the interception of three underage OFWs that were instructed by their recruiters to wear dark lipstick to appear older and conceal their ages.

“These human traffickers are victimizing the youth by enticing them to agree to such schemes,” said Morente. “We have turned over their cases to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation, to be able to file cases, arrest and jail these recruiters. Our kababayan end up in vulnerable situations abroad because of this scheme. These recruiters are not stopping despite the pandemic, and this modus should be curbed immediately,” he stated.

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