ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 20 (PNA) — The multi-agency Sea-Based Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) have foiled a human trafficking attempt when they intercepted 24 would-be victims in this city.
The Philippine Center on Transnational Crime-Western Mindanao Field Office (PCTC-WMFO) reported that the would-be victims were intercepted Monday at the local port while about to board a commercial vessel bound for Malaysia.
A commercial ferry plies ones a week between the Zamboanga-Malaysia route via Sandakan, Sabah.
The PCTC-WMFO did not release the identities of the victims except that they came from Basilan, Sulu, Iloilo and Metro Manila.
Some of the would-be victims especially those from Basilan have already returned home while the rest were placed under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The PCTC-WMFO said the would-be victims provided almost the same alibis such as to visit their families and look for jobs when interviewed at the Overseas Passengers Assistance Center (OPAC) of the local wharf.
The PCTC-WMFO said they were not allowed to board the commercial vessel bound for Malaysia since they only carry passports but not an invitation from families or a working permit from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). (PNA)