Multi-agency task force rescues 13 would-be trafficking victims

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 5 Aug) – The multi-agency Sea-Based Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) on Monday rescued 13 would-be human trafficking victims and arrested four alleged illegal recruiters in this city.

Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City police officer-in-charge, said the victims were rescued around 11 a.m. Monday at the local wharf while they were about to board on a commercial ferry bound for Malaysia via Sandakan, Sabah.

He did not release the victims’ identities except to say they are all women, who were recruited in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao region, to work in Malaysia and Lebanon.

Casimiro disclosed that the victims’ rescue came a day after they received information that more or less 20 women, who were recruited by a syndicate, were monitored to have arrived Sunday in this city.

He then immediately coordinated with the other SBATTF member-agencies and deployed personnel to the local port, which is being used as transshipment point by human traffickers.

Casimiro said two of the suspects are from Cebu, while their local counterparts include a former soldier and his wife.

He said the victims were placed under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development while the suspects were detained pending the filing of charges against them.