THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Thursday that a Filipina has been successfully repatriated after enduring a harrowing ordeal of sex trafficking in Malaysia.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the 20-year old victim, whose name is withheld for her protection, arrived via a Malaysia Airlines flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I last Nov. 8 after being allegedly recruited by an internet acquaintance who promised her a housekeeping job in Malaysia.
“This incident sheds light on the pervasive issue of recruitment and exploitation of vulnerable individuals online. The victim was made to believe that lucrative opportunities were waiting for her abroad,” Tansingco said.
The victim first traveled to Palawan where she was escorted to illegally board a sailboat destined to Kota Kinabalu.
According to the victim’s account, they had a stop at an unspecified island within Philippine territory where they fetched another woman who was also recruited by the syndicate.
Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu. they traveled through mountainous terrains to reach a hotel in Sibu, Malaysia where they were housed as sex workers, the victim recounted.
“She was held captive. Disturbingly, she was subjected to appalling conditions, including being denied food if she failed to satisfy the demands of her captors. She was even forced to undergo abortion when they discovered she was with child,” Tansingco said.
She was later transferred to another hotel in Bintulu, Malaysia where she was eventually placed in jail after Malaysian authorities raided the hotel.
The victim then managed to contact the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia through the assistance of Malaysian police.
Tansingco then expressed his dismay as he emphasized the need for increased awareness, and a robust legal framework to combat sex trafficking effectively.
“This case exemplifies the heinous nature of human trafficking and the urgency to combat this abominable crime. We must remain proactive and continually collaborate among stakeholders in dismantling these trafficking networks,” the BI chief said.