Immigration officials stop 12 trafficking cases at NAIA

Mara Cepeda
Immigration officials stop 12 trafficking cases at NAIA


The Bureau of Immigration chief says the 12 passengers were promised jobs in China, Hong Kong, and Macau

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration said on Friday, December 4, that it intercepted the flights of 12 Filipinos about to become victims of trafficking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

According to BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison, 9 female and 3 male passengers aged 31 to 46 years old initially claimed they were traveling to Macau as a group as an incentive of their employer.

But separate interviews conducted by the BI revealed that the 12 people were recruited by a certain Bernadeth Menor, another passenger who promised them housecleaning jobs in China, Hong Kong, or Macau as long as they each pay her a sum ranging between P15,000 and P17,000. 

Mison said all the passengers are under investigation by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.

The commissioner reminded the public against illegal recruiters who promise Filipinos employment opportunities abroad without undergoing due process. (PODCAST: Ethical recruitment of OFWs

“We enjoin our kababayan (countrymen) to secure the required Overseas Employment Certificate from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration before going abroad to work. This will ensure that they will not fall victim to illegal recruiters and human trafficking syndicates,” Mison said.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have long been warned against becoming victims of illegal recruiters. However, “slow” government processes in securing OFWs’ travel and working documents make them vulnerable to trafficking. 

Based on the 2013 Commission for Filipinos Overseas Compendium of Statistics, there are 1.34 million undocumented Filipino migrant workers – a number the government wishes to shrink. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.