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Thursday July 27, 2006
Exclusive by ANDREW SAGAYAM
KUALA LUMPUR: The lucrative sex trade is attracting not only local but also foreign women, some as young as 14 years old, with vice syndicates in the country raking in at least RM1mil daily.
Police findings have shown that these syndicates are operated by locals with international connections.
The younger and better looking sex workers are branching out on their own and are able to command three times or even more from their clients.
According to police, sex workers are coming to Malaysia from all over the world, with China, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines providing the largest numbers.
Other source countries include Russia, Uzbekistan and India while syndicates have started taking in more Vietnamese women following “current market demand”.
Given the situation, Bukit Aman's anti-vice, gaming and secret societies division has set up a special task force to crack down on these syndicates.
Division head Senior Asst Comm (II) Sidin Abdul Karim said the police needed public assistance now more than ever in their fight to wipe out vice syndicates.
The syndicates, he said, had created websites and placed advertisements in newspapers on the pretext of offering escort services and were sending sex workers to nightspots to pick up clients.
They had also moved on from just operating in hotels and budget motels, he added,
“It is getting harder to track them down as most are now working from apartments and condominiums and through door-to-door delivery to avoid detection.
“That’s why we need the public’s help. If people notice suspicious activities taking place in their housing area, they should contact us,” he said.
SAC Sidin said the women were smuggled into the country through various means, both legal and illegal.
In some cases, he said, they were brought in as maids and later referred to local pimps.
“The local pimps have connections with vice syndicates overseas, and their foreign counterparts will have also informed women coming to Malaysia to contact them for better jobs,” he added.
Sex workers are also known to have entered the country hidden in the baggage compartment on buses, which are seldom checked by Immigration officers. Others have used fake passports as well as student and tourist visas.
SAC Sidin urged the public to contact the Rakan COP hotline at 03-2115 9999, send an SMS to 32728 or go to the nearest police station if they had information on vice activities.
In their efforts to wipe out vice, police have smashed 428 vice syndicates operating nationwide since 2000 and rescued an average of one sex worker every other day since 2004.
Since 2000, police have arrested 30,107 sex workers of various nationalities in 84,359 raids nationwide, but the number of sex workers operating at any one time cannot be established as they are constantly on the move.
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