47 human trafficking victims rescued in Tawi-tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/4 Aug) – Police authorities have rescued 47 victims of human trafficking and arrested two suspects on two separate operations in the province of Tawi-tawi, officials disclosed.

Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Tawi-tawi police director, said that 27 of the 47 rescued victims are females. He added that four of the victims are minors, 2 boys and 2 girls.

Jocson said 25 of them, 20 males and 5 females, were intercepted last Tuesday at the port of Bongao, the capital of Tawi-tawi province. They had just disembarked from the commercial ferry that arrived from Zamboanga City, Jocson added.

He said the other 22 victims, who are all females, were rescued last Wednesday at a pension house that was also the residence of a policeman in Bongao.

Jocson said the policemen and his wife were arrested and are being investigated by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Ailyn Repadas, of the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), disclosed that some of the rescued female victims are bound for Jordan and Syria to work as domestic workers, with Malaysia would be their jumpoff point.

Established in 1991, the VFF is a non-government organization that works in issues concerning domestic work, child labor and human trafficking, especially of women and children.

Repadas said the rest of the victims, especially the males, were hired as plantation workers in Malaysia.

The victims are from the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, and from as far as Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan.

Jocson said they have coordinated with other law enforcement agencies for the effort against human trafficking in Tawi-tawi.

The anti-human trafficking efforts include the tight watch on arriving and departing commercial ferries in the entire province of Tawi-tawi, Jocson said. (MindaNews)