85 trafficked persons rescued at local wharf PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 January 2013 15:38

Acting on an intelligence report, operatives of a multi-agency task force swooped down Wednesday night on a private wharf in Baliwasan, this city and rescued 85 persons believed to be victims of human trafficking-cum illegal recruitment by a still unidentified Malaysian national.

Evelyn Las Marias, officer-in-charge of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, said the human trafficking victims, mostly from the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Sibugay, were rescued on board M/L Nurhira, owned by Arden Asakil, shortly before the boat could depart for Malaysia.

A total of 85 were rescued but as of press time only 45 have been assessed of which 26 were men, 16 women and 3 children (boys). It was learned the victims had paid between P2,000 and P5,000 for their transportation to Malaysia.

Of those already assessed, 13 came from the municipality of Titay, Zamboanga del Sur, 11 from Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, 8 from Zamboanga City, 5 from Pagadian City, 2 from Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, 2 from Tampilisan, and 1 each from Agusan City, Davao City, San Mutya, Zamboanga del Sur and Dapitan City.

The CSWDO immediately provided transportation for the alleged victims of human trafficking from the wharf to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Processing Center for Displaced Persons in Talon-Talon, where they were given food assistance and assessed.

Of the eight victims from Zamboanga City, 5 came from Bunguiao and 3 from Tugbuangan. They were immediately sent to their respective homes.

The rescue team was composed of operatives from the Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC), Navy-NISG, DSWD, Visayan Forum, CSWDO, Coast Guard and the Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Group.

Las Marias said the rescue was the biggest haul so far for the first month 2013.— Vic Larato