Once a drug is sold, it's gone, but a girl can be sold and used over and over before she collapses, has gone mad, commits suicide or dies of disease," a British Columbian man convicted of trafficking, once said.
This confession, crude and heinous, reveals the ruthless logic that drives human trafficking. Non-profit organisation Tenaganita programme director, Glorene A. Das, says she vividly remembers this disclosure.
Let's say the price is put at RM300 per customer per night. Can you imagine the amount of money the girl could generate if she's used and trapped for the next 20 years?
"That's just one girl. What about the many others who have been abducted and duped into sex slavery to make money? The lucrative 'reapings' from this crime is just alarming!" she exclaims.
What's most disturbing to Glorene is the number of young girls who have gone missing from year to year.
"Have we ever wondered what exactly has happened to our children who have disappeared? Nowadays, even young boys are recruited by these culprits to lure young girls before they are eventually led to the traffickers. In the past three years, we have not received statistics from the authorities on the number of missing girls."
Sex trafficking continues to be a serious problem despite concerted efforts by the government to combat the crime. Five years ago, it implemented the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 to ensure stiffer penalties for traffickers. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Amendment) Act 2010 now also includes the smuggling of migrants, and the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons (MAPO) - first established under the 2007 Act - is now known as the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants.
You lose nothing but gain much by keeping a day free to watch Life Sdn Bhd 8: Human Trafficking which focuses on the plight of victims.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop has said the government has been carrying out lots of initiatives and also engaged with NGOs, the US Embassy and other international bodies to better equip and train enforcement agencies especially during raids and detention.
According to him, trafficking activities can be difficult to monitor due to the country's geographical factors and migration. Wira reasons that migration leads to labour exploitation by unscrupulous individuals and syndicates, but to counter this, the government is looking at the pattern of migration and monitoring the influx of migrants into the country.