BI holds off departure of over 8K passengers in 9 months

(File photo)

MANILA – The departure of over 8,000 passengers, including victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment, were deferred from January to September this year, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported Tuesday.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said a total of 8,413 individuals were not allowed to leave the country for being improperly documented.

He said 90 percent or 6,909 of the passengers were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while the rest were stopped at the airports in Clark, Pampanga and Mactan, Cebu.

Of the number, 495 passengers were suspected victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment attempting to fly abroad.

A total of 325 were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation and filing of charges against their handlers and recruiters.

The remaining 170 were endorsed to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for discrepancies in their work documents.

“Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, there has been no letup in our drive against human trafficking,” he said in a statement.

Morente cited the country’s retention of its Tier 1 status in the United States Trafficking in Persons Index as proof that the Philippines has made "appreciable" progress each year in combating trafficking.

“We have a mandate to perform in seeing to it that our kababayan are not victimized by these syndicates who take advantage of them. We will not stop until these traffickers and illegal recruiters are put behind bars,” he added. (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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