THE Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (SBATTF) has rescued 45 human trafficking victims, including some women, in Zamboanga City, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official announced Thursday.
SBATTF Chairperson Assistant City Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito said the victims were rescued shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday at a private wharf in the village of Baliwasan, west of Zamboanga City.
Pajarito said the rescue of the victims came three days after they received information that a group of people are set to leave for Malaysia.
Pajarito said the victims were at the private wharf since they were waiting for the arrival of the ferry that would transport them to Taganak Island in the province of Tawi-Tawi.
Another ferry will take them to Malaysia via Sandakan in the State of Sabah, Pajarito added.
She said the victims were recruited in Manila, Zamboanga City and in the nearby provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte.
The victims were turned over to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the government agency that will assist them in returning back to their respective places of origin.
Thursday’s rescue was the first accomplishment of the SBATTF in this city.
Last year, several trafficking victims were rescued by the task force. (Bong Garcia)