Biggest haul in human trafficking: 252 victims PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:36

Authorities have intercepted a boat loaded with what could be the biggest number yet of human trafficking victims.
Coast Guard and Navy personnel chanced upon M/B Wendylen overloaded with 252 people on their way to Sabah, Malaysia via Taganak, Tawi-Tawi. The boat’s capacity is only 58 passengers.

When interrogated, the passengers initially lied that they just on fishing expedition, but when pressed further by investigators, they admitted that they were recruited for jobs in Malaysia. All possessed no travel documents.

The 252, who came from Lanao, Zamboanga City and Basilan, boarded M/B Wendylen in Basilan and were en route to Malaysia

Coast Guard District Commander Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said the passengers are composed of 123 adult males, 74 adult females and 55 children.
Some of the passengers said they were recruited by a certain Nash, and each of paid sum of money within the range of P50,000-P60,000.

ML Wendelene was escorted by Coast Guard personnel to the Ben Go wharf in Baliwasan yesterday morning. From the private wharf, the passengers were transported to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) center in Mampang for in-take procedures.

City Social Welfare Officer Francisco Barredo said all thje 252 trafficked persons will be taken to the DSWD office in Mampang for proper intervention like counselling and assessment of their papers.

“If they are from Zamboanga they will be taken immediately to their families if they are outside of this city DSWD will provide funds for their fares in going to their respective places,” Barredo said.