4 trafficking victims rescued in Tawi-Tawi

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Philippine authorities on Sunday arrested a man trying to illegally transport four women into Malaysia’s state of Sabah from the southern province of Tawi-Tawi, officials said.

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Ensign Chester Ian Ramos, spokesman for the Joint Task Force ZAMBASULTA (Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi), said military and police units nabbed the suspect, Henry Alsamala, on board the boat ML Sea Glory that docked on a pier in Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi, following a tip from an informant.

He identified Alsamala’s victims as Marilou Olico, Clarisa Pardines, Claiza Ann Lorez and Ritz Pas.

Among those who took part in the operation to rescue the four women were members of the Naval Intelligence and Security Group-Western Mindanao, Provincial Women and Children Protection Desk- Bongao, Tactical Operations Group-SULTAW, Regional Intelligence Unit-9 and the 304th Area Intelligence Security Service, according to Ramos.

“Alsamala is currently being investigated by the police, while the trafficking victims were handed over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Ramos said.

He added: “We are intensifying our law enforcement operations. With this arrest, we hope to curb the human trafficking activities of lawless groups in the province,” Ramos said.

Authorities gave no further details about the victims and their recruiter while the investigation is going on.

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