11 trafficking victims escape from employer PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 June 2013 17:07

Eleven human trafficking victims escaped last Monday, June 3, .from their employer in Barangay Tandu- Uwak, Sibutu municipality, Tawi-Tawi where they complained of maltreatment.

The 11 trafficking victims told authorities here that they had pretended to go fishing and asked permission from their employer to use his two pumpboats.

The two pumpboats sailed straight to the Philippine Navy in Bongao where they sought for help.

According to the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime Western Mindanao Field Office (PCTC-WM), the 11 victims were exploited by their employer identified only as a certain H. Juani who is engaged in deep sea fishing and gathering of live lapu-lapu fish (grouper).

PCTF-WM said the 11 victims were recruited by Benjin Bacaltos, a diver from Bohol and were brought to an island in Tawi-Tawi  on May 7, 2012. Most of them came from Bohol and two are minors.

Moreover, two of the victims’ companions identified as Belen Villaver and Arnel Dela are still in the hands of Huani.

According to the victims, during their working stint with Huani, they were allegedly maltreated and paid very low salary.

They told PCTC-WM officers that Huani had inflicted them with physical harm and if they complained or do not follow his orders, their food rations were reduced.

One of the victims, John M. Gungora, partially lost his eyesight after he was bitten by a dog. He was not given any treatment of anti-rabies by Huani  Fortunately Gungora is still alive six months after the dog bit him.

When the victims arrived in Zamboanga City Friday afternoon, the Philippine Navy turned them over to the Zamboanga City Sea-Based Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force with PCTC-WM, 9th Maritime Group, Department of Social Welfare and Development 9 and the Visayan Forum.

The victims were given temporary shelter and counseling.at the DSWD 9’s Crisis Intervention Center.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 9 under Sr. Supt. Edgar Danao is readying criminal case against the recruiter and the employer. — Allen Abastillas