ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces intercepted a boat trying to smuggle out over a dozen people illegally recruited from southern Philippines and promised jobs in neighboring Sabah in Malaysia, officials said Tuesday.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, chief of the naval forces in Western Mindanao, said ML Moneza was carrying 20 people when it was intercepted by navy vessels off Zamboanga City late Monday. He said the boat was escorted back here.
Medina said there is an investigation going on to determine who was behind the illegal recruitment or whether a big time syndicate is behind this. He said the operation was part of an intensified campaign against human trafficking.
“The successful campaign against human trafficking is a result of joint maritime law enforcement operations of the Philippine Navy and other partner agencies and this will continue to deter any unlawful activities at sea,” Medina said.
He did not say how they uncovered the attempt to smuggle Filipinos to work illegally in Sabah, but among those involved in the operations were the Philippine Navy vessel BA486, a multipurpose assault craft; the Naval Special Operation Unit 6, the Naval Intelligence and Security Group, Joint Task Force Zamboanga and the Philippine Coast Guard. (Mindanao Examiner)
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