Philippine officials were able to rescue 12 Filipina victims of a human trafficking syndicate who brought them to Manado, Indonesia, en route to the Middle East, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
While the DFA did not disclose the circumstances behind the victims' arrival in Indonesia, it said in a statement that the women are temporarily housed at the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) in Manado while the Philippine Consulate arranges for their repatriation.
Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Jesus Yabes, who personally visited the women, had advised them to go through the proper recruitment channels if they still want to work abroad to ensure that they "are covered by the safety nets provided by the Philippine Government."
The 12 women will be provided with plane tickets by the Consulate and will be flown back to Manila once Indonesian authorities complete the repatriation process.
While in Manado, Yabes also coordinated the preparations for the repatriation of 20 Filipino fishermen who were arrested by Indonesian authorities for illegal entry and illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.
"The Filipino fishermen are housed in the Manado Immigration Detention Center but are otherwise permitted to roam around the premises unguarded," the DFA said in the same statement.
"Their fishing bancas and vessels were confiscated by Indonesia authorities but the fishermen were released for eventual repatriation to the Philippines," it added.
According to the DFA, 225 Filipino fishermen have been repatriated from Indonesia during the first half of 2015 after they were arrested for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. Data from the Philippine Consulate General indicates that last year, 327 Filipino fishermen were arrested by Indonesian authorities for the same reason. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News