KOTA KINABALU: Nine Filipinas, aged between 20 and 45, promised lucrative jobs in the Middle East were rescued in two separate operations in Semporna on July 8 and 9.
Sabah Immigration Director Datuk Dr Muhamad Sade Mohamad Amin (pic) said three suspects, two men and a woman, were also detained in the operations.
He said a 15-member team raided two unnumbered houses, one at SK Pekan Semporna and another in Kampung Terusan Hujung Batu on Bum Bum Island.
“Each woman paid the syndicate up to RM13,000 in service fees for lucrative job placements in the Middle East, especially Jordan and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,” he said in a statement, Sunday.
Muhamad Sade said investigations were being carried out under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007.
He said the suspects, aged between 28 and 40 years, were being detained at the Papar Immigration Detention Depot, about 40km from the State Capital, for further investigation.
“They are being investigated for carrying out smuggling of migrants. If convicted, they are liable to imprisonment not exceeding 15 years or a fine, or both,” he said.
He added that the victims were being housed at the Kota Kinabalu Women’s Shelter.
Muhammad Sade said the suspects and victims have been put through a strict health screening process, including Covid-19 tests and placed under quarantine as per the Health Ministry’s standard operating procedures.
In thanking the public for providing information, Muhamad Sade urged the people to continue providing tip-offs on human trafficking activities in the State.
“The public should be our eyes and ears. The Immigration Department will not hesitate to take action against syndicates or individuals involved in human smuggling.
“We will not compromise and will act appropriately and firmly,” he added. -DE