The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday, December 19, said that close to 29,000 suspected human trafficking victims were stopped from leaving the country in the first 10 months of this year.
According to BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina, a total of 28,467 people, including 151 minors, were prevented from boarding their flights. This is after they were found to be non-compliant with requirements for overseas-bound passengers under the Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers set by the Department of Justice.
Most of the underage victims misrepresented their ages, Medina noted.
He also said that Immigration, for the past few years, has been implementing these requirements as part of its efforts to curb human trafficking and illegal migration in the country’s ports of exit.
“What we are trying to prevent here is allowing the departure of victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” Medina said.
“We are considered the last line of defense inside our country to protect our people,” he added.