ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 August) – The Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) has rescued 18 victims, including six minors, of human trafficking at a private wharf in this city, a police official revealed Thursday.
Senior Insp. Gemma Luna, WCPD chief, disclosed that the victims were rescued around 9 a.m. Wednesday while they were about to board a ferry bound for the province of Tawi-tawi at a private wharf in Barangay Baliwasan, this city.
Luna said the rescue of the victims came after operatives from her office, in coordination with the Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF), responded to a report that human trafficking victims were sighted at Baliwasan seaside.
The rescued victims told the police that they were hired to work as fishermen in Tandubas municipality, Tawi-tawi.
Luna said the victims identified their recruiter as Melzar Ujatimuay Danda, of Kabasalan town in Zamboanga Sibugay, and their employer as Magellan Mohammad Ali-Naugan.
The rescued victims were turned over to the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), a non-government organization (NGO) which works on issues of domestic work, child labor and human trafficking, especially of women and children, Luna said.
The victims include four female adults, eight male adults, two female minors and four male minors, the youngest of which is an 11-month-old infant, according to VFF staff Ailyn Repadas.
The victims were reportedly recruited in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur and in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay. (MindaNews)