News/Malaysia: 2 Filipinos who fled Malaysian sex den here

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Subject: News/Malaysia: 2 Filipinos who fled Malaysian sex den here
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 12:19:11 EDT


2 Filipinos who fled Malaysian sex den here
By Ricky Beltran
The Manila Times, June 2, 2000

TWO undocumented Filipinas made a daring escape from Malaysia, where they
were held virtually as sex slaves together with more than 75 other
Filipinas in an island resort.

The two arrived last Wednesday afternoon on board a Malaysian Airlines
flight without any personal effects and documents prompting Immigration
officials to immediately secure both of them inside the exclusion area
where they were questioned for details on their experience.

The identities of the two victims were withheld on orders of NAIA-BID
supervisor Danilo Almeda pending possible follow-up operations for the
arrest of the two’s illegal recruiter.

According to one of the victims, a.k.a. Sarah, she and her friend arrived
in Malaysia in early December of last year after being recruited by a
certain “Ms. L” to work as waitresses in Kota-kinabalu, Malaysia.

But upon arrival at Kota-kinabalu, “Sarah” was made to work at the Kings
Karaoke Club as a Guest Relations Officer (GRO) while her companion worked
at the Golden Lotus Massage Parlor and the Golden Café Karaoke Bar.

Both were forced by their Chinese employer to work as prostitutes against
their will. The two were closely guarded and, according to them, there were
more than 75 other Filipinas forced to work as prostitutes in the island
resort.

It was through the help of a female friend married to a Malaysian pilot
that both women were able to make a break for freedom by hiding in her
friend’s house in Labuan, Malaysia for nearly two weeks.

Their friend’s husband then called his friend in the Malaysian Immigration
to help the two return to the Philippines. The two left Labuan for Tawau
where the Malaysian Immigration officer was waiting. When they got there,
the two were hustled into the first Malaysian Airlines plane bound for the
Philippines without going through processing or documentation.

Commissioner Rufus Rodriguez has ordered his men to anticipate the return
of the two victims’ illegal recruiter and the karaoke club owner who are
expected to return to the Philippines to recruit another batch of innocent
victims.

“Once we get our hands on these people, we might be able to rescue and
bring back the other women still being held in Malaysia by this syndicate”
said Commissioner Rodriguez.

Some women’s groups have denounced the inaction of the Foreign Affairs
Department in the fight against white slavery, citing the case of the two
escapees as proof that more Filipinas are languishing in these island
brothels in Malaysia.

Immigration officials have lamented that many of these flesh trade victims
are often exited by way of the back door via Sabah then into Malaysia.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
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