113 trafficking victims rescued in Tawi-Tawi PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 February 2013 14:22

A total of 113 victims of human trafficking were rescued anew by authorities in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi while aboard a vessel that was bound for Sabah, Malaysia last Sunday.

The victims include 68  men, 29 women and 16 minors.

Based on investigation, the victims came from Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay and Davao City.

Like in previous trafficking rescue operations, no travel documents were presented by the victims to show that their entry to Malaysia where their recruiter promised them jobs is legal

According to authorities, the victims were recruited  late January by a certain Edris to work in a palm oil plantation owned by a Malaysian with Chinese descent. The victims were given a 400 ringgits fee as an advance payment deductible to their salary.

The victims were brought here in  Zamboanga  City  on board BRP Anastacio Cacayorin commanded by Lt. Edison Laroco. The rescue operation was carried out by men of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast  Guard and Department of Social Welfare and Development in Tawi-Tawi.

Around 3:30 p.m. the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) turned over the 113 victims to Chief Insp. Alexander Lorenzo, field officer of  the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime Western Mindanao which is part of the Zamboanga City Based Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

“We will facilitate their food and shelter. The victims will be brought to the DSWD 9’s Bahay  Silongan. Most affected victims and pitiful are the minors. They need extra care and attention. All the victims will be given counseling by DSWD personnel  before they will be sent back  to their home places,” said Lorenzo.

Lt. Laroco said that a couple was left in the hospital in Tawi-Tawi and under medication  because the pregnant wife was experiencing symptoms of miscarriage.

Last Monday night, six other human trafficking victims bound for Sabah, Malaysia were rescued by government forces at a finger wharf in Baliwasan Seaside.

The victims include three women and three men. The three women and one of the men came from Midsayap, North Cotabato, while one of the men and one of the women are from Sinunuc,  Zamboanga City.

One of the women said they were recruited to work in a dried fish production in Buan, Sabah, Malaysia.

Authorities said a motorlaunch would have taken first the victims to Taganak, Tawi-Tawi, where an agent of their employer from Buan, Sabah,  Malaysia was waiting for them.

The victims said they want to work in Sabah because they are experiencing hardship in Midsayap.

In an interview, the victims said they do not know that there is an ongoing standoff between 200 Filipinos from Sulu and Malaysian security forces and it is difficult to enter Sabah because the sea going to  Malaysia is heavily guarded with maritime police and Malaysian Navy. — Allen Abastillas