22 women rescued from human traffickers

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Monday, February 27, 2012

MANILA -- Twenty-two women, including several minors, bound for Dubai and eventually Syria, Jordan and Lebanon were rescued by government operatives from alleged human traffickers in Parañaque City on Monday.

The women, mostly from Mindanao, said they were promised jobs as household workers and that they would know their final destination and who their employers are upon arrival in Dubai.

It turned out, however, that the transit house in Villanueva village was a bungalow rented by the illegal recruitment syndicate for P13,000 a month, and was bare of furniture, forcing the women to sleep on pieces of cardboard and banigs or handwoven mats.

The house was identified by an informant who sought the help of the non-government Ople Center in out of concern for a relative who remains trapped in Syria.

For his part, Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed stronger action against illegal recruiters and human traffickers especially of women bound for Syria, currently wracked by violence on moves to oust President Bashar-al Assad.

Based on interviews with the Ople Center, the women expressed fears that their recruiters might run after them and force them to reimburse previous expenses connected with their airfare to Manila and stay in the transit house.

They also had the desire to work abroad because their families have no other means of livelihood.

The operations were conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation's Anti-Human Trafficking Division after two weeks' surveillance on the said transit house.

Charges of large-scale illegal recruitment are now being readied against the unidentified recruiter, said Binay, who also chairs emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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