KUALA LUMPUR - The women had come to Malaysia lured by the promise of jobs and a better life.
Instead, the 35 women - 10 Chinese nationals, 10 Filipinas, 12 Thai nationals and three Vietnamese - were forced into sexual slavery and made to live in poor, unsanitary conditions for six months.
Last Thursday, they were finally rescued in a raid by a team of Bukit Aman D7 (Secret Societies, Vice and Gambling Division) officers from three reflexology centres in a shoplot in Setapak, where they had been cooped up in makeshift rooms. The women claimed they had been offered jobs as professional masseurs but were forced by their employers to "service" customers.
They also alleged that their passports and other important documents were being held by the employers.
"Some women were even imposed with a bondage debt of between RM5,000 and RM13,000 and would only be allowed to leave once they had paid it all off," said Bukit Aman D7 chief Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik.
A source said the women appeared to be healthy with no signs of physical abuse but were deficient in Vitamin D due to a lack of exposure to sunlight for a long time.
The 20-man operation at 8pm also saw the arrest of five men - four locals and one Myanmar national - as well as a Filipina, who it is believed operated the reflexology centres, without proper licences.
"Their modus operandi was to recruit the foreigners by tricking them with job offers here.
"Then, they would confine the women and take away their documents before forcing them to do sex acts," he said, adding that customers were charged between RM100 and RM200 for sex.