PNP SAF rescues victims of trafficking in Tawi-Tawi
PNP SAF rescues victims of trafficking in Tawi-Tawi
DAVAO CITY- Some 41 victims of trafficking in persons, including two minors age 2 and 5, were rescued in a series of operations conducted by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

The operation was launched from January 17 to 22 in coordination with Tawi-Tawi Maritime Police Station, Maritime Group; Marine Brigade Landing Team 7 and 12; Municipal Inter-agency Committee Against Trafficking (MIACAT).

According to PNP SAF commander Major General Edgar Alan Okubo, in a report sent to News Fort the rescued individuals were traced to have come from Luzon, particularly in Cavite, La Union, Muntinlupa, Manila, and Abra. 

Some are from the Provinces of Isabela, Ilocos Sur, and Cebu and from the City of Malabon. Another group came from Baguio City, Zambales, Leyte, Cavite, Caloocan City, Quezon City, Pasay City, and Zamboanga Peninsula who all travelled distances for the promise of lofty income.  

Okubo identified the arrested recruiter as Auna S.Tahiron and Jundam Albain Kamaruddin. 

It was learned after the custodial debriefing of the rescued individuals, that the modus operandi was orchestrated by a certain Virginia Gerly Egipto Armamento. 

Accordingly, the photos of the victims were sent to prospective buyers and employers in Malaysia who will bid out the victims with an amount ranging from P80,000.00 to P300,000.00. Upon agreement, the recruiter will facilitate the travel of the victims to Tawi-Tawi. Another facilitator will meet them upon their arrival in Tawi-Tawi and will transport them via speed boat to Malaysia. 

The victims were promised to work in Sempurna and Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia but the truth is, they will work as Guest Relations Officers (GROs) in clubs and construction workers. The victims are traded as slaves in another country without the benefits and protection by the government.

Okubo said follow-up operations are still ongoing by his team as there are monitored continuous arrival of more victims, to include minors and children, to be transported through the Tawi-Tawi - Malaysia route.

Members of PNP SAF assisting rescued Traffic in Person (TIP) victims for transport, accomodation and interview after being intercepted at Bongao Port, Tawi-Tawi. 41 TIP victims have been rescued from Jan 17-22, 2023 operation conducted by PNP SAF and Maritime Group. Photo from PNP SAF

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