Government agents have arrested members of a human trafficking ring in a simultaneous bust operation in Bulucan, Caloocan City and Zamboanga City.
Reports show that the syndicate was led by a Lebanese man by the name of Pascal Sreih, using an alias of “Kuya Mario” along with his Filipina wife Vilma Rose Matagay, using the alias of “Sarah.”
Both suspects were arrested in operations prompted by intelligence reports that the couple were smuggling young Filipinas to Sabah, Malaysia, and Lebanon with the assistance of rogue elements at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The large scale recruitment scheme has been taken down and all suspects have been put through an inquest for violations of human trafficking.
The syndicate was well known for hiring young Filipinas as domestic helpers in Lebanon and across Europe.
Reports shows that young Filipinas were instructed to acquire tourist visas, and with the connivance of BI officers the women were smuggled to Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia and other points via Zamboanga City. The girls were then moved on to to Lebanon with the assistance of corrupt BI officers.
Many of the girls had paid large sums of money for the placement fee from the illegal recruitment scheme.
On Monday, the government agents in co-ordination with the Department of Justice, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Visayan Forum Foundation launched the simultaneous operations in Zamboanga City, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan and Camarin, Caloocan City.
Arrested in the operations were Srieh and his wife Matagay, two BI officers identified as Joey Escobar and Fedel Mendoza, along with two unnamed BI personnel.