Anti-human trafficking agencies in Negros Oriental intercepted Wednesday four undocumented persons apparently recruited, with more than 200 others, for a fishing expedition in Palawan.
The four men, whose identities were not disclosed, were found “hiding” inside the F/B Anatalia, that was docked at the Tandayag Port in Amlan town, to pick up the recruits for Palawan.
Representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, the Coast Guard, and the Visayan Forum Inc., a non-government organization involved in anti-human trafficking, had conducted a pre-departure inspection of the boat earlier.
Romualdo Señires, partnership and advocacy officer of the VFI, said they ordered those in the vessel to disembark, and during inspection, found the four men at the rear portion of the boat.
The law enforcers did not clear the vessel for sailing that evening, and ordered the four men, some reportedly from Siquijor, to return to their hometowns or provinces.
It was also discovered that some of them had questionable documents, such as tampered birth certificates, Señires said.
On Thursday, the team again conducted a final pre-departure inventory of the recruits and their papers, and inspected the F/B Anatalia before it could set sail. Verified and cleared were 250 men and no minors were found in the group, so the vessel was finally cleared and allowed to leave at around 1 a.m.
Señires said the 250 recruits came from Negros Oriental, Siquijor and some parts of Cebu, and will join a 10-month fishing expedition.
Their employer was identified as the Phil Mariners Aqua Ventures Corporation, and the recruitment of the workers was conducted by the Sto. Rosario agency, he added.
This is the second interception in Negros Oriental this year, that foiled an attempt to recruit and hire undocumented fishing operations workers.*JFP
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