ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/10 July) – Operatives of the local police command’s Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) arrested on Friday three alleged illegal recruiters and rescued 10 victims of illegal recruitment, Zamboanga City police director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo said.
Last month, at least 70 victims of trafficking, 30 of them women, were rescued here from June 13 to 17.
The arrest and rescue of the victims happened at around 8:05 a.m. Friday in an inn in Barangay San Jose-Cawa-Cawa, west of this city.
De Ocampo said one of the victims, Maryjane Bautista, 34, of Pampanga, managed to escape from where they were staying and sought the assistance of San Jose-Cawa-Cawa barangay chair Espiridua Avellaneda.
In turn, Avellaneda accompanied Bautista to the police headquarters and lodged a formal complaint of illegal recruitment.
Bautista said in her complaint that she and her nine companion were billeted in ASY Pension House along Claret Lane, Barangay San Jose-Cawa-Cawa since they arrived from Manila n June 30.
De Ocampo said WCPD operatives headed by Senior Insp. Gemma Luna rushed to the pension house immediately after Bautista’s complaint was endorsed to the WCPD.
WCPD operatives, accompanied by Avellaneda and Bautista, arrested the three recruiters upon arrival at the pension house, De Ocampo said.
The nine other victims of illegal recruitment were also rescued, he added.
He identified the arrested recruiters as Liza Luna, 50 and Arnel Magat of Malate and Tondo, Manila, respectively, and Emely Lumba 38, of Pampanga.
Investigation showed that the suspects recruited the victims to work as domestic helpers in Jordan. But all 10 victims were found to have no documents to travel and work in Jordan, he said.
They were supposed to travel from this city to Malaysia via the province of Tawi-Tawi and from Malaysia to Jordan, De Ocampo said.
The suspects were detained after they were subjected to inquest proceedings while the victims are in the custody of the Visayan Forum Foundation, he said.
At least 70 victims of trafficking were rescued here.
On June 17, a combined police and military team rescued 14 women on board a boat bound for Malaysia via Tawi-tawi.
The inter-agency Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force had earlier intensified its monitoring after it was discovered that Zamboanga City is being used by illegal recruiters as one of their transshipment points in the country. (MindaNews)