ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/19 May) – Forty-four victims of human trafficking, most of them minors, were rescued by police in a local hotel Friday morning.
Operatives of the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) rushed to the Medio Hotel along Governor Alvarez Avenue after an informant notified the police about the suspected human trafficking.
Chief Supt. Mario Yanga, OIC of the ZCPO, he immediately ordered WCPD chief, Senior Insp. Gemma Luna, to lead a team of operatives to the hotel.
Luna’s team arrived at the hotel at around 8:50 a.m. and rescued the victims who were billeted at the hotel’s second floor.
Ailyn Repadas of the Visayan Forum Foundation, a non-governmental organization working for the protection of vulnerable migrants, including victims of human trafficking, forced labor, and other modern-day forms of slavery, said 27 of the 44 were minors. Twenty-six of the 44 are female, the rest are male.
Operatives arrested Khaiser Salih, 25, a native of Isabela City, Basilan.
Yanga said the victims, who arrived here Sunday, May 13, are residents of barangays Makiri and Timpul in Isabela Ci ty.
He said the suspect promised the minors a scholarship grant from the National Youth Commission (NYC).
Police verified with NYC Commissioner Earl Saavedra who said there was no such scholarship as alleged by the suspect.
Yanga added that the suspect promised the older victims jobs at the Department of Health, Department of Education and the Senate, he said.
The rescued persons were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (MIndaNews)