Santiago: Do cops profit from forced prostitution?

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PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has urged Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to find out whether rogue police officers are profiting from human trafficking.

Speaking to FMT, Santiago noted a report about the illegal import of prostitutes into Malaysia and pointed out that foreign women accounted for a large number of those caught in police raids on prostitution dens.

He said this seemed to suggest that human trafficking was involved.

“The movement of these women into the country could be done only through an organised effort,” he told FMT. “I find it difficult to believe that the police are oblivious of the various syndicates involved.”

An FMT report earlier quoted a former hotel security head as saying that hotel operators, taxi drivers and food service operators were among the people involved in the smuggling of prostitutes into the country.

Khen Han Ming, who is now the principal consultant of security firm JK Associates, alleged that many of the women were forced into prostitution and were kept in shop houses or cheap hotels modified into brothels. They could be seen in such busy areas as Bukit Bintang, Lorong Haji Taib and Chow Kit Road, he added.

Santiago said he had no knowledge of the extent of prostitution in the country, but added that Khen’s statement brought into question whether some police officers were benefiting from the trade.

“If these activities are happening under police watch, that could only mean that the police are either on the take or they don’t care,” he said.

He also questioned whether any action would be taken against police officers found to be profiting from forced prostitution, saying he had his doubts after observing that there had been an “apparent lack of action” following the 2015 discovery of mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis.

It was suspected that the graves were of trafficked persons.

Santiago said Malaysia should emulate Thailand’s action over the issue.

Foreign media recently reported the conviction of 62 people in Thailand following the discovery of 36 bodies in shallow graves in the southern part of the country. The guilty included Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpaen and prominent businessman and former politician Pajjuban Aungkachotephan.

“Why isn’t Malaysia doing anything like that?” Santiago said. “Given that Malaysia is now a so-called Tier 2 country in the Trafficking in Persons Report of 2017, Malaysia should really do something.”

Attempts by FMT to get the police to respond have failed.

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