Invisibility Amulet Fails OFW Wannabe at NAIA

A woman who claimed to be desperate to work in Dubai was prevented from flying from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport authorities found out she was a victim of human trafficking.

The Naia Task Force against Trafficking in Persons (Naia-TFATP) said it was looking into the possibility that the 25-year-old woman was a victim of an illegal recruiter in cahoots with an airport insider.

The task force said the unidentified woman aspiring to be a caregiver was given instructions by the recruiter to avoid going through the immigration counter, making her believe that an airport insider was waiting behind the counter, ready to affix Bureau of Immigration Border Stamps on the victim’s passport.

A report from the Naia-TFATP said the Dubai-bound caregiver who posed as a tourist was intercepted at 2 p.m. on May 20 after she was caught trying to skip the immigration counter at the airport. It was her third attempt to leave the country.

Before she was apprehended, the woman tried to leave NAIA on May 17 and 19, both times through NAIA terminal 1.

On her first attempt, she told immigration officers she was a tourist whose trip to Dubai was sponsored by an uncle. But they did not allow her to leave after she failed to show documents proving her claims.

On her second attempt, the woman tried to skip the immigration counters. When caught, she said that her supposed uncle had instructed her not to undergo immigration inspection.

During an interrogation, the victim claimed that desperation to work abroad pushed her to respond a job posting shared on Facebook. In her statement, the woman was offered work in Dubai as a caregiver with free accommodation on top of a monthly wage of AED2,500.

The recruiter asked her to pay P16,000 as processing fee for her travel documents. On April 12, she got a tourist visa for the United Arab Emirates and a flight booked for May 17.

She claimed that before her scheduled flight, she received her e-ticket and an affidavit of undertaking. She also received a copy of the passport of a man she did not know but would pose as her uncle and sponsor for the Dubai trip. To ensure that she would be able to leave this time, the woman said she bought an amulet for P750 from an Aeta tribesman.

“The passenger during the investigation and counseling of the duty social worker [said] that she was desperate to go abroad as they [she and her family] were deep in debt because of her expenses incurred in trying to work abroad,” the task force report read.

“Worried that she would be spotted again while following the instruction to evade the immigration, she bought an amulet for P750 from an Aeta purportedly to render her invisible. However, she was obviously seen as she was caught again,” it added.

The woman, tagged as a human trafficking victim, was endorsed to the National Bureau of Investigation to process her complaint aainst the illegal recruiter while the task force continues to probe to identify the alleged airport insider.