Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers assigned at the Zamboanga International Seaport (ZIS) rescued two Filipina victims of human trafficking as they attempted to depart to Sandakan, Sabah via MV Antonia I.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco, citing a report from BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ann Camille Mina , said that the victims, aged 43 and 40, both initially claimed that they were traveling for a vacation separately.
However, upon further inspection, they admitted that they were bound for Lebanon to work as household service workers. They flew from Manila to Zamboanga, where they were instructed to ride the vessel to Sandakan and from there, stay in Malaysia for one day while waiting for their visa, before they were to fly out to Lebanon.
“These traffickers are now attempting to use other ports to evade strict security checks, thinking we have no presence there,” said Tansingco. “As part of the IACAT, it is our duty to intercept such cases in order to protect our kababayans from harm,” Tansingco said.
The two were turned over to the Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance in filing cases against their recruiters. Their names are being withheld pending an investigation.