20 April 2012 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that the Royal Malaysia Police, through its Criminal Investigation Division (CID)-Anti-Human Trafficking Section and the Embassy, rescued four Filipina victims of human trafficking on April 18.

The four were locked up and forced to work in a night club in Johor Baru, some 220 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur and is near the Malaysian border with Singapore.

The Embassy lauded the quick action undertaken by the Malaysian police.

"We appreciate the swift action of the Malaysian police in rescuing our nationals. This is proof of the commitment and partnership of our two countries against human trafficking. Coming right after the conviction of Alfred Lim, this latest rescue is another clear indicator of the commitment and partnership of our two countries against human trafficking," Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.

On March 30, Mr. Lim, a Singaporean national, was convicted by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur for two counts of human trafficking, and sentenced him to three-year imprisonment for each count. This was after two Filipinas who fled his placement agency filed complaints against him in July 2009, after enduring prolonged periods of abuse and maltreatment.

The victims, all residents of Metropolitan Manila, were allegedly recruited and escorted by a certain Ramil Garcia from Manila to Zamboanga and then Sandakan in Sabah, with the promise of high-paying jobs in Malaysia.

Upon arrival in Sandakan, Mr. Garcia turned them over to a certain Norminda Buko Whigan for "sale" to night club owners as customer service workers. The Filipinas were informed of their real work only upon their arrival in Sandakan.

After a two-week stay in Sandakan and no offers from club owners there, the four Filipinas were transported by plane to Johor Bahru in West Malaysia on March 29 and offered to a certain club owner Emy Wong.

The ladies were locked up at the Wong residence, and made to work at the club the following day.

The four ladies, with ages between 27 to 36 years old, eventually were able to ask for help from the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and others, which alerted the Embassy.

In the evening of April 18, Malaysian CID agents, accompanied by two Embassy officials, proceeded to Johor Bahru in West Malaysia and raided the club.

The club owner had left the club, together with the Filipinas, minutes before the police arrived.

The team then proceeded the Wong residence, where the Filipinas were locked up, and rescued the four Filipinas. The police also arrested Mrs. Wong's husband, who was in the house. Mrs. Wong is now being pursued by authorities.

The Filipinas were then brought before a local judge, who issued an interim protection order, and are now in a shelter run by Malaysian police and welfare authorities. They will later be turned over to the Embassy for repatriation to Manila.

The Embassy reminded Filipinos to be aware of the modus operandi of trafficking syndicates, so as to protect themselves from becoming victims.

"Our Filipinos should already beware anytime they are made to exit through the 'back door' in the Tawi-Tawi area without proper documentations. In most likelihood, they are being trafficked already," the Embassy said.