7 alleged human trafficking victims rescued in Tawi-Tawi

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 05 June) — Seven persons who claimed to be victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking were rescued in Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, a belated report from the Philippine Marines said.

Turtle Islands. Map courtesy of Google

Elements of the 6th Marine Company based in Turtle Islands found the alleged victims last May 31 onboard a speedboat from Sandakan, Malaysia.

“On May 31 this year, around 8:30pm, a speedboat with 40 horsepower engine was found at the border shoreline of Barangay Poblacion, Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi, ” Navy Lt Col Noel Calendatas, commander of Marine Battalion Landing Team 6, said.

The seven persons onboard the speedboat came from Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Cotabato City, General Santos City, Quezon City and Angeles City.

During the investigation they said they were recruited by a certain Sitti Farnaha and Hanji Jamahuddin and went to Sabah, Malaysia on Feb. 26.

They said they decided to escape because their recruiters burned their passports and threatened them.

“The alleged victims are now in temporary custody of the local government unit of Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi as they were tagged as persons under monitoring due to absence of health certificate, as part of the COVID-19 health protocol,” Calendatas said.

Upon recommendation of Dr. Lorenzo Maria de Guzman of the Datu Hailun Memorial Hospital in Bongao and the IATF, the seven persons were subjected to a 14-day floating quarantine.

They were confined inside the recently apprehended Vietnamese fishing vessel anchored in Taganak port in Turtle Islands. (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)