Malaysian police rescue 19 Vietnamese women from forced prostitution

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The women were promised work in massage parlors but were instead exploited as sex workers.

Malaysian police rescued 19 Vietnamese women following a raid on seven brothels in the country’s southern state of Johor on Wednesday evening, VietnamPlus reported.

Officers from the Special Task Force for Anti-Vice, Gambling and Gangsterism (STAGG) and Johor Contingent Police simultaneously raided the establishments as part of an operation dubbed Op Noda, according to Superintendent Mohd Shokri Abdullah, STAGG’s chief of operations.

Police found 55 foreign women from Vietnam, China and Thailand during the raids. 19 of them, aged between 23 and 35, were identified as victims of forced prostitution. However, the remaining 36 were detained for violating the Immigration Act, Mohd Shokri claimed.

He said the rescued women had been promised work in massage parlors by their employers, but were instead locked up and exploited as sex workers.

The brothels were found to be using the WeChat application, through which customers could choose a woman for a fee ranging from MYR150 to MYR200 ($35-47).

The number of Vietnamese trafficking victims jumped a staggering 13 percent in 2016 from a year earlier to 1,128, according to police reports.

Most were sold to men seeking wives in China, Malaysia and South Korea, or just to bear children or work as prostitutes in those countries.

According to the U.N., a third of trafficked women and children are from Southeast Asia.- VNExpress

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