Tuesday, October 18, 2011

21 Ugandan women rescued in PJ flat raids


KUALA LUMPUR: They were promised jobs here as maids or hotel staff with a monthly salary of US$1,000 (RM3,150), but 21 Ugandan women saw their dreams turn into a nightmare when they were forced into prostitution.

The Ugandans, aged between 19 and 42, had to service between five and seven clients daily. If the women refused to follow orders, they were raped and beaten by their captors.

Their nightmare ended last Friday when police conducted simultaneous raids on four apartments in Sunway Mentari Court, Petaling Jaya. Police arrested three Ugandans (two women and a man).

Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin said the syndicate in Uganda recruited women and offered them jobs with attractive salaries.

"To sweeten the offer, the syndicate even offered free air tickets or travel documents to those who could not afford the travel fare. 

"The women were told to sign a contract, whereby they were required to repay the syndicate their travel expenses."

Investigations revealed that the women were first taken to China, where they were introduced to their new job. Those who balked at offering sex services were beaten and humiliated by syndicate members.

The women had their passports confiscated and were told that they had to pay off a debt bondage of US$7,000 (RM22,000).

After a month in China, the women were flown to Malaysia, where they entered using social visit visas. They were taken to Petaling Jaya where the syndicate had rented four apartments.

The women's clients were mostly African nationals who paid RM300 per session.

The women could not go anywhere as their movements were monitored by the syndicate.

About two weeks ago, one of the victims escaped from the apartment when the guard's attention was diverted. She hailed a taxi and headed for the Ugandan consulate here.

The consulate alerted the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman and a team monitored the apartment for several days before moving in.

They seized RM3,700 and notebooks containing the names of all the customers each girl had serviced.

The two women nabbed by police are believed to be pimps working for the syndicate. The man is understood to be a customer.

Bakri said this was the first time police had encountered a human trafficking incident involving Ugandans. He said police were attempting to trace the links of the syndicate as it did not involve locals. - NST

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