Malaysian police free 21 Ugandan `sex slaves`

Malaysian police said on Tuesday they had rescued 21 Ugandan women from forced prostitution.

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police said on Tuesday
they had rescued 21 Ugandan women from forced prostitution,
breaking up what they called the country`s first large-scale
such ring involving African victims.

The Federal Criminal Investigation Department said in a
statement that police freed the women on Friday from four
flats in an apartment building on the outskirts of the capital
Kuala Lumpur.
The women, aged from 19 to 42, were lured to Malaysia
with promises of jobs as maids in homes and hotels but instead
were forced into prostitution to pay off their USD 7,000
travel fees.

The women "were exploited as sex slaves," the statement
said. "The victims were threatened physically and mentally if
they ran away and report to authorities."

It added that all of them were brought from Uganda to
Malaysia via China.

If they refused sex, they were beaten and raped, a police
official in the department said.

"This is the first time we have such a large number of
Africans," said the official, who declined to give his name as
he was not authorised to speak publicly about the case.

He added there had been previous cases involving
individual African prostitutes but not a syndicate.

Police have also arrested two Ugandan woman believed to
be pimps and a Ugandan man believed to be a customer, the
department statement said.
The official said police were still investigating how
long the ring had been in operation and whether there were
more victims.

The penalty for human trafficking in Malaysia is up to 15
years in jail.

Although prostitution is illegal in Muslim-majority
Malaysia, it is prevalent especially in urban centres.


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