Human trafficking attempt foiled at Manila North Harbor; 303 IPs rescued
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 303 indigenous people (IPs) were rescued from a human trafficking attempt, said the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
According to IACAT, the indigenous people, all Badjaos, were rescued on Friday morning at the Manila North Harbor Seaport, in Tondo, Manila.
Social workers and Philippine National Police (PNP) investigators interviewed 271 of the 303 passengers. Those interviewed were 161 adults and 110 minors, of which 152 were males, 116 were females, and three were unidentified.
All of the 303 passengers were then immediately transferred to a processing area where they underwent an antigen swab test.
“All passengers were turned over to a facility for temporary shelter in Quezon City under the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa program by the National Housing Authority,” said IACAT in a statement on Saturday.
“Two hundred eighty-two of them will be brought back home to Zamboanga on Sunday (June 6) via a Philippine Navy vessel, while 21 of them will stay due to health reasons,” it added.
IACAT said initial information revealed that their travel was facilitated by an undisclosed individual.
Prior to this incident, anti-trafficking operatives were also able to rescue 18 IPs, of which 10 are minors, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on May 5.
Then on May 30, another six Badjao passengers, including three minors, were intercepted by the PNP-Women Children Protection Center Visayas Field Unit Operatives at the Mactan International Airport, Lapulapu City.
IACAT said that the alleged trafficking attempts violate the Republic Act (RA) No. 9208 also known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended by RA 10364, and RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
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