Task force rescues 20 human trafficking victims in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/13 January) – The government has scored anew in its campaign against human trafficking as the multi-agency Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) rescued 20 victims on Saturday in the municipality of Maluso, Basilan province.

Police said this group of human trafficking victims was the second rescued by the task force in the week.

On Thursday, the multi-agency task force rescued 85 (not 45 as earlier reported) victims of human trafficking at a private wharf in Zamboanga City.

Supt. Albert Larubis, Isabela City police chief who is also a member of the SBATTF, said that the victims, some of whom are women, were rescued noon Saturday while they were boarding M/L Nur Ena, a wooden-hulled ferry that would take them to Taganak Island in Tawi-Tawi.

From Taganak Island, Larubis said they will board another ferry that will take them to Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.

The victims were rescued following an intensified surveillance after the SBATTF received information that a ferry would transport workers to Sabah, Malaysia from Basilan province, police said.

The task force has arrested M/L Nur Ena’s skipper, who allegedly recruited the rescued victims.

They were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) while the suspected recruiter was detained and appropriate charges are being readied against him. (MindaNews)