DMW, PNP nabs big-time illegal recruiter in Laguna 

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said that it had shut down Tuesday the operations of a big-time illegal recruiter in Paete, Laguna.
The entrapment and rescue operations were conducted on a house located along Adea Street, Iligan del Norte, Poblacion Paete, Laguna.
The operation subsequently led to the arrest of 39-year-old Jonnalyn Sebastian, one of four members of the illegal recruitment ring, and the rescue of 33 overseas job applicants.
“Sebastian, given the sheer number of complainants, faces a non-bailable offense and possibly, a lifetime of jail time,” DMW Secretary Susan Ople said.
The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Trafficking in Persons (TIP) unit as well as Laguna provincial police operatives supported the DMW in the conduct of the activity.
“We thank the PNP and the province of Laguna for their full support to the DMW’s fight against illegal recruitment and human trafficking,” Ople said.
Surveillance operations were conducted by the DMW’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch (AIRB) shortly after receiving complaints from three overseas job applicants that they were being charged from P100,000 to P350,000 in “advance placement fees” for “guaranteed” jobs as caregivers in Malta and Malaysia.
Sebastian allegedly misrepresented herself to jobseekers as the “coordinator” of a “government-to-government program” of a “licensed recruitment agency.”
She allegedly charged job applicants initial “placement fees” from P100,000 to P150,000 to cover various training fees, medical examinations, and other expenses. The remaining balance was supposed to be paid just before deployment.
Applicants who could not pay the fees were likewise advised by her to apply for loans which they should pay through salary deductions after their deployment.
Applicants became suspicious when Sebastian failed to deploy them after a considerable amount of time.
It was then that the said applicants decided to seek the assistance of the DMW.
In a statement, the DMW said it is assisting all 33 rescued illegal recruitment victims in documenting their complaints prior to the filing of cases against Sebastian. She will be charged with large-scale illegal recruitment activities tantamount to economic sabotage which is a non-bailable offense.
Sebastian was taken to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for inquest proceedings earlier this morning. Follow-up operations, meanwhile, are being conducted by the PNP’s Trafficking in Persons unit against Sebastian’s husband and two other accomplices.