Operatives of multi-agency Sea Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) have rescued some 58 would-be human trafficking victims on board a Sandakan-bound vessel at a privately-owned wharf in Baliwasan Seaside, Zamboanga City. Initial report showed that the would-be human trafficking victims from different parts of Zamboanga Peninsula were rescued on board M/L Nurhira, docked at the wharf in Baliwasan Seaside, which was about to depart for Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia, formerly North Borneo. The rescued victims were brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development where they were processed for assistance to bring them back to their respective places of origin. Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City police director, said five of those rescued were identified as Dennis Lukenario, 19; Adrianne Balde, 18; Roldan Morados, 22; Alfredo Pahialgao, 22; and, Aljun Jimenez, 19. The other three were minors aged 16 to 17. He said investigation showed they were recruited in Barangays Bato and Maligaya in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay to work in Malaysia. The Philippine Center for Transnational Crime-Western Mindanao Field Office said the victims were bound for Malaysia and were recruited from Basilan, Sulu, Iloilo and Metro Manila. Authorities have tightened the watch at the local wharf after it was discovered that it is being used as a jump-off point by human traffickers.

Source: Minda News