Four teens tricked into sex trade rescued


Source: The Star

KOTA KINABALU: Four teenage immigrants who came to Sabah with their families in search of work thought they had landed decent jobs – only to be pressed into the sex trade.

The four, three girls and a boy, were rescued after they were detained in a raid on an entertainment outlet at Cybercity near here at 2am on Feb 7.

City police chief Asst Comm M. Chandra said the victims, who worked as guest relations officers, were forced to provide sexual services to clients upon request.

He said the girls are aged 15, 17 and 18, while the boy is 16.

“These teenagers came to know the couple, a man in his 30s and a woman, 22, via the social media app WeChat,” ACP Chandra said here yesterday.

After being promised jobs in restaurants, the teenagers met with the duo and followed them to Lahad Datu, but upon arrival, they were instead asked to provide sexual services to customers, he added.

He said the teenagers claimed that they tried to escape but were found and taken back by the man and his girlfriend.

“They told us the man then brought them to Tawau and kept them locked in a house there,” ACP Chandra said, adding that the teens were undocumented.

He said that soon after that, the man brought them here, where they were made to work as guest relations officers at his entertainment outlet and had to provide sexual services.

During the raid, a deejay and a caretaker of the premises were also held.

The man and his girlfriend were subsequently arrested in Putatan, not far from here, the same day.

ACP Chandra said the victims, whose parents also lived in the state, were unaware of their children’s activities.

He added that the children have been sent to shelters in Peninsular Malaysia, where they are expected to undergo counselling before being referred to the Immigration Depart­ment because they are undocumented.

“We are also investigating whether there are other cases of exploitation involved,” he said.

The owner of the premises will be investigated for various alleged offences, including harbouring illegal immigrants, exploitation of children under the age of 18, and human trafficking, ACP Chandra said.

The caretaker is expected to be probed for operating past the permitted hours for entertainment outlets, he added.