The women were believed to be victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment after five of their companions managed to report their plight to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.
Also arrested in the operation were a Singaporean national, a certain Yvonne Phua, and 13 Filipinos.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, CIDG spokesperson, named some of the arrested alleged illegal recruiters as a Michael Abellar and his wife Joy, a certain Eric, Emma and Mandy.
The CIDG, the local social welfare office and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration conducted the joint operation at the De Castro Building in Villa Eusebia, Barangay (village) E. Aldana, in Las Piñas City at around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Jasmin said the arrested suspects were affiliated with the PEM Maid Employment Agency, which turned out to be lacking the POEA authorization to hire and send workers to other countries.
“We learned that they are not registered with the POEA to operate a recruitment or training facility,” the official said.
Authorities came to know of the victims’ predicament when five women, who paid their way out, reported the firm’s alleged illegal activities.
The women came from different parts of the country, Jasmin said.
“The applicants also allegedly suffered some abuse since they were made to train beyond the prescribed number of hours. The firm offers training on baby sitting, care giving, and domestic help but without the POEA license,” the official added.
The CIDG also recovered in the raid several log books, a certificate of a tie-up with other recruitment agencies and applicants’ recruitment papers.
Jasmin said they have been preparing charges of human trafficking and illegal recruitment against the arrested suspects, while coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration about the status of the Singaporean national.