KOTA KINABALU: The police have rescued six women from the Philippines who were forced to be sex workers.
The six, aged between 20 and 24, were rescued when policemen raided a house in Kampung Peringatan Jalan Petagas near here, where they were being kept captive, at about 9.30am Tuesday.
Kota Kinabalu police chief Asst Comm M. Chandra said the six women from Zamboanga, Philippines had been here from between 15 days and four months.
"They were brought in separately from Sandakan, Semporna and Tawau, and were promised jobs as waitresses in restaurants and pubs," he said.
ACP Chandra said their pimps told them that they owed them money for transport and other fees to get here and needed to work to pay off their debts.
"These women were sent to pubs, hotels and karaoke centres as guest relations officers and to provide sexual services," he said.
He said the women were controlled by their pimps and were not allowed to leave the house they were in.
"The victims would be under someone's watch at all times and would be sent to and picked up from work," ACP Chandra said.
Following the raid, a 47-year-old local man and two women – a 25-year-old Filipina with a passport and a 47-year-old illegal immigrant – believed to be the pimp and caretakers, were arrested.
The three suspects will be remanded until Aug 28 and are being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007.
The victims have been taken to a temporary shelter for protection.