LAST_UPDATESun, 20 May 2018 9pm

Sungai Petani Cops Rescue 18 Foreign Victims Of Human Trafficking

SUNGAI PETANI: Kuala Muda district police rescued 18 foreigners, believed to be victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, during a raid at Taman Tunku Haminah here on Saturday.

Those rescued comprise ten Thais, six Lao and two Vietnamese, aged between 20 and 30.

The 17 women and one cross-dressing man were picked-up in a police operation at an entertainment outlet here at 12.30am.

The raid was carried out following several weeks’ observation of their allegedly illicit activities.

“The entertainment outlet was operating illegally and the foreigners were exploited (and forced) to work at the premises.

“Initial investigation showed that the victims were housed at a different location and sent to work at the premises,” district police chief Assistant Commissioner Saifi Abdul Hamid said in a statement.

He said police also seized several vehicles which were used to transport the victims from their living quarters to the entertainment outlet.

Saifi added that four local men, in their 30s, have been remanded for six days from Saturday to facilitate a probe into the case under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007.

The men are also being investigated under Section 39 (b) of the Immigration Act 1963 for hiring foreign workers without permit; and Section 6 of the Entertainment and Places of Entertainment Enactment 1997 for operating without licence.

Saifi said police have also obtained an Interim Protection Order (IPO) for the 18 victims rescued in the operation to assist with the investigation.