Philippines probes officials over human trafficking to Syria


Mon, Jun 25, 2012 - Page 5

The Philippines said yesterday that at least 14 immigration officers were under investigation for alleged involvement in the human trafficking of poor Philippine nationals to violence-torn Syria.

Philippine Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David said his office was cooperating with a probe being carried out by a special government task force on trafficking, which could lead to criminal charges or the firing of officers.

A total of 19 immigration officers, who were found to have helped illegal recruitment agencies, were dismissed from their jobs last year, David said.

The Ministry of Labor has said gullible Philippine nationals from poor provinces have been duped into traveling to Syria, many of them women who end up employed as maids under very poor working conditions.

It said an average of 100 Philippine nationals were entering Syria every month.

The Philippine government banned Philippine nationals from working in Syria and ordered a mandatory evacuation of its nationals there in December last year, about 10 months after an uprising broke out.