Maritime cops rescue 15 minors in Cebu
CEBU CITY—At least 15 girls, believed to be victims of human trafficking, were rescued by maritime police in a port in Cebu while they were about to board a vessel bound for Manila.
Emma Salazar Leocadio, 41, and her daughter, Sherryl, 22, both from Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City, were arrested. They were allegedly responsible for bringing the girls from their hometown in Getafe in Bohol to Manila.
They were detained at the waterfront police station at Pier 1 pending the filing of charges against them.
The girls, aged 14 to 17 years, were reportedly offered to work as maids and nannies.
Blazo said the two women and the minors arrived from Tagbilaran City in Bohol on board a SuperCat fast craft at Pier 4 at about 6 p.m. on Friday.
They were supposed to take another vessel—SuperFerry 12 —which was docked at Pier 6 and scheduled to leave for Manila at 8:30 p.m. that same day.
Senior Insp. Joselito Blazo, 701st Maritime Police Station head, said he received a call from a security guard at the SuperCat terminal about two women traveling with 15 minors. Blazo said the guard held the group until he and his men arrived.
He said the two women failed to present any of the three documents he asked—permit from the Department of Labor and Employment for employing minors, license from recruitment agency, and written consent from the parents.
They were then arrested for violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
The minors were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas.
Blazo said they told him that they had dropped out of school, and that the two women had convinced their parents to allow them to work in Manila.
Jaybee Binghay, DSWD regional information officer, said the 15 minors were undergoing evaluation. Pending the result of their assessment, they will remain under the department’s custody, she said.
Although the girls were promised jobs in Manila as housemaids and nannies, Binghay said there was a possibility that the girls would land in prostitution dens in Manila.
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