3 undocumented OFWs caught at Zambo City port

IMMIGRATION officers at the Zamboanga port apprehended three women, believed to be undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and victims of human trafficking, aboard a ship bound for Malaysia.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David, Jr. and Acting Immigration Associate Commissioner Alberto Braganza, the women were offloaded last April 28 from the M/V Danica Joy which was bound for Sandakan, Sabah.

Bureau of Immigration (BI)-Zamboanga alien control officer Sitti Rubaina Lutian reported that all three passengers had no passports or travel documents.

Lutian said one of the women was previously offloaded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last April 27 after she was profiled to be an OFW disguised as a tourist.

It was the women’s recruiter, identified as a certain “Lyn”, who allegedly instructed her to fly to Zamboanga the next day so she could join the two other women in leaving the country via the ship where they were caught.

The women were allegedly sneaked into the ship at 5 a.m. that same day by Lyn’s courier who advised them to wait for their passports, which would be given to them before the ship departed.

They said they did not spend anything for their trip, as their recruiter would later deduct their expenses from their salaries abroad.

Braganza said the women were later turned over to the Visayan Forum, a non-government organization that provides legal and humanitarian aid to victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Braganza, however, declined to divulge the names of the passengers, citing a provision in the anti-human trafficking law prohibiting the public disclosure of human trafficking victims.

David, for his part, commended the immigration officers at the Zamboanga port for their vigilance that led to the apprehension of the women.

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