Syndicates of human trafficking have turned to social networking sites and email to recruit victims, a police official said Monday.

Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Tawi-Tawi provincial police director, revealed the syndicates’ new modus as he announced the rescue of 41 human trafficking victims in Bongao in the past few days.

“Nahihikayat sila (victims) thru social networking sites like Facebook and email, tapos papadalhan ng e-tickets,” Jocson said in a phone interview.

Most of the 41, who were intercepted at the pier and airport of Bongao on Jan. 10, 11, 12, and 14, are women who came from different areas of Mindanao, including Zamboanga, Cotabato, Davao, and General Santos cities.

Others came from as far as Negros Occidental, Cavite, Bataan, Tarlac, and even Metro Manila.

“Karamihan naman ng mga sindikato nasa kabilang bansa,” Jocson said.

Members of the provincial police’s Anti-Trafficking Task Group and the Bongao Municipal Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Trafficking (Miacat) intercepted the victims with the help of residents.

“Nagtatanong kasi sila (victims) kung paano pumunta ng Sabah. Kabababa lang sa barko, sa eroplano, at pa-transfer na sa tricycle then sa lantsa… Marami sa kanila kulang o walang dokumento,” Jocson said.

“Marami ang maaaring mahulog sa prostitution pagka ganito so we are intensifying operations here,” he said.

The 41 have already been turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. in Zamboanga, where they will be provided shelter and counselling on proper ways to find work abroad, Jocson said. (John Roson)

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