Chiangrai Times – Malaysia police have reported that a raid on a sex trafficking and theft gang in the country has seen a 13-year-old girl among the detained sex workers.
City police deputy chief Supt M. Chandra said the prostitutes, the oldest of whom is only 20, were arrested while waiting for customers along the back alleys of Kampung Air near the city’s downtown area.
Chandra added that the sex workers also participated in a gang of thieves, known locally as “ting-ting,” and would assist in luring clients to a specially modified room after offering their services.
They have been reported to have stolen wallets and other valuables from the men.
“Suddenly, the girl would then pretend to get a call warning that police were coming to raid the place, causing the client to abruptly leave the room without realizing that he had been robbed,” he said.
All the arrested girls have been detained while an investigation takes place.
But it has once again highlighted the ongoing struggle in Malaysia over sex trafficking and underage sex workers, which women’s advocates say needs more police attention and new legislation from the government to crackdown on the illegal trade in sex.
Police have repeatedly told news agencies that they are pushing forward on cracking down on sex work in the country, but are struggling with limited resources and a rise in the number of young women entering the country illegally to work in the industry.
“It is difficult to find the sources of these women and the people responsible for forcing them into this industry,” one police source said on condition of anonymity.
“But we are finding more and more evidence that this is a nationwide phenomenon that can be tackled with the proper resources and tackling the problem at the root. The people who participate in buying women are the main problem in Malaysia and we must campaign to stop this,” the source said.
In recent months, dozens of young women, often girls, from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines have been detained and given medical and psychiatric treatment by the government here after being removed from their situation, officials said.