Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

BI's officers are trained to spot human trafficking victims

Mar 21, 2023, 1:27 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia


Summer heat is on and vacation mood is on overdrive. Revenge travel as they say, after the pandemic.

So our airports are filled to the rafters. Worse our premier international airport, NAIA, overcrowded by double its carrying capacity.


Many things happen, good and bad, but mostly bad, happen in overcrowded places.

Overcrowding is the reason too many unpleasant stories including crimes are reported at the NAIA.

NAIA is simply a space problem made obvious.

First, the unpleasant stories, let’s start with the long queuing at these stops: the entrance for security checks, the check-in counters, travel tax payment and immigration line.

In all these stops, long queuing happens simply because the number of service counters are no match to the number of passengers waiting to be served.

Passengers are stressed. And so are the people attending to them in the counters.

And it cannot be worse at the immigration check.


It is then of no surprise, that the Immigration Officers normally are at the wrong end of public complaint over unpleasant stories at the NAIA.

Case in point is the latest Tiktok gurl, who brought her complaint to Tiktok when she missed her fight to the Middle East due to “unnecessary delays at the immigration check.”


Tiktok gurl was subjected to secondary check after she got profiled as potential victim of human trafficking. The process of making sure she is a legitimate tourist caused her to miss her flight.

She brought this to Tiktok and she gained the support and sympathy of netizens, active on social media. And, obviously, including trolls.

Question, why was she subjected to secondary check? A social media group reported that Tiktok gurl had a one-way ticket to a Middle East country. Immediately, she gets red flagged. A tourist without a return trip ticket?

Same media group reported that Tiktok gurl had only P6,000 for travel expenses and no credit cards to support cost while in the Middle East for weeks as a tourist.

Anybody who has gone to Boracay for a vacation will attest to the fact that you can’t be in that wonderful island for five days with only P6,000 travel budget.


The Bureau of Immigration has stepped up efforts to stop Filipinos from being victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking. Funny, the BI is tasked to stop would- be victims of human trafficking from leaving. They are to protect Filipinos from him/herself.

Human trafficking and illegal recruitment victims have increased, the immigration bureau reported even as it has become the chopping board of congressional investigations on human trafficking.

So Immigration Officers are likely under strict orders to make sure that only legitimate Filipino tourists are allowed to leave. And these IOs went through training at the Immigration Academy to exactly ask questions and profile travelers coming in and leaving the country.

On the Tiktok gurl, the IO involved denied asking for a yearbook. But from where I stand, it was her answers to her absence of return flight, her pocket money and hotel bookings that got her to secondary check.

My kapitbahay though has another take. He claims, Tiktok girl will soon be a product endorser and has earned from monetized engagements in Tiktok several times over her cost of another ticket to the Middle East.

Abangan, another entertainment personality to shine.

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