FORTY-ONE victims of a modern-day human slavery ring were rescued in a week-long anti-human smuggling operations led by the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force in Tawi-Tawi.
PNP-SAF director Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan O. Okubo said two of the rescued victims, who mostly came from Metro Manila, are aged 2 and 5-years-old, who were in the company of their mother, a 32-year-old jobless woman from Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte.
Some of the victims were found to have been sent to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi by the human trafficking syndicate from different parts of Cavite, La Union, Isabela, Ilocos Sur and Cebu provinces.
Another group came from Malabon, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Quezon, Pasay and Baguio Cities, as well as the provinces of Zambales, Leyte and Zamboanga Peninsula.
Members of the 51st Special Action Company of the SAF’s 5th Special Action Battalion launched the operation on January 17-22 in Bgy. Poblacion in Bongao,, in coordination with the Tawi-Tawi Maritime Police Station, the 1st Special Operations Unit of the PNP Maritime Group, the Marine Brigade Landing Teams 7 and 12, and the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking.
Arrested were recruiters Auna Tahiron and Jundam Kamaruddin.
According to Okubo, the victims were promised high-paying jobs in Sempurna and Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysa but ended up as either construction workers or “guest relations officers” in clubs.