ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 5 November) – The multi-agency Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) foiled a human trafficking attempt here Tuesday, rescuing 58 people in the process.
Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director, said the would-be victims were rescued shortly after midnight aboard a vessel docked at a wharf in Barangay Baliwasan.
Casimiro said the vessel, M/L Nurhira, was about to depart for Taganak, Tawi-Tawi.
From Taganak, they were to board another vessel that would take them to Malaysia via the city of Sandakan in Sabah.
Casimiro said the would-be victims were recruited from the different parts of the region.
He said they were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where they were processed for assistance to bring them back to their respective places of origin.
They were the third batch of would-be trafficking victims the task force rescued since August this year.
The first batch that consisted of 13 persons was rescued last August 4 at the local wharf while about to board a commercial ferry bound for Malaysia.
The second batch comprising of four persons was rescued last October 25 at a house in Barangay Sangali here.
Authorities have tightened watch at the local port and privately-owned wharves after it was discovered that human traffickers use this city as jump-off.