By Richa Noriega
Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard have rescued a total of 13 women who were reportedly victims of human trafficking during their operation in Maulso town of Basilan.
In a statement, the PCG said the operation also resulted in the arrest of one suspect who was arranging the departure of the 13 local women to Malaysia.
The rescued victims, aged 21 to 40 years old, were residents of Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Capiz, Zamboanga del Norte, and Maguindanao. They were rescued in an operation in Sitio Gaunan Asibih, Barangay Gaunan, Maluso, Basilan on March 24, Wednesday.
The operation occurred aboard a pre-arranged watercraft bound for Malaysia where the victims will be forced to work through illegal means, the Coast Guard added.
“They received humanitarian assistance and were escorted to the Maluso Municipal Police Station for proper documentation,” the PCG said in a statement. The victims were ferried to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office – IX where they underwent swab test and submitted to mandatory quarantine before going back to their families.