In 2010, there were 30 – 36 million slaves in the world, estimated Siddarth Kara, author of the award-winning book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.
Modern Day Slavery is an illegal activity that is valued at a staggering US$150 billion per year (International Labor Organization)
Facts of Modern Day Slavery in MalaysiaIn 2014,The United States has downgraded Malaysia to a Tier 3 in its annual human trafficking report. This is the lowest ranking and Malaysia is now in the same category as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.(See report here)
The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims are among the two million documented and 1.9 million undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia. Malaysians are also victims to these atrocities. There is a rising demand for Malaysians in the trafficking world.
In 2007, more than 1,600 children were reported missing in Malaysia. 86% were below 18 years old. (Stated by Deputy Women, Family and Community Minister Noriah Kasnon)
From 2011-2012, 10,765 children went missing - an average of 15 missing a day. (see report here)
Many are believed to have been abducted and possibly trafficked for sex, labor or organs. Today the authorities have yet to disclose the latest numbers due to the increase of missing children.
Modern Day Slavery in Malaysia can be categorized into 9 main areas
(We refuse to use the term "maid" because it is viewed as derogatory.) They are abused and mistreated by irresponsible and abusive employers. Often times they are not paid their wages and work 7 days a week with little rest.
Tenaganita reported that various forms of violence were present in most of their cases, with 56% of the domestic workers suffering physical abuse and 20% of the workers being sexually abused. 25% of the domestic workers rescued were badly malnourished as a consequence of being deprived of proper food.
Chain Channi, a domestic worker who started work each day at 5:00 a.m. and was not able to go to sleep until 3:00 a.m., never got a chance to rest. She described her experience at her employer’s house in Malaysia: "If I finished my job quickly, my boss made me clean the house again. The wife of the employer shouted and beat me every day. She kicked [me], slapped me, pulled my hair and beat me all over my body… The employer also beat me with his hands and kicked me. I never received my salary." (Human Rights Watch)
Foreign Migrant Workers
Foreigners following the promise of a better job are tricked and mistreated. They do not receive their wages and are possibly tricked into gaining more debts that they could not repay. This happens in every industry - even small businesses.
The Economist stated that 1 in 4 of all workers in Malaysia's electronic industry were in force labour.
FishermenLocal poor families and poverty stricken migrant workers are lured into working in the fishing industry. These workers are often tricked into working as fisherman with promises of high profits, but some are even kidnapped and forced onto the boats. Fisherman work up to years on the boats, where they can be abused, mistreated, and even murdered at the pleasure of captors.
Women and children are abducted then sold to prostitution syndicates in Malaysia and across our borders. Cases involving young women being tricked into a romantic relationship and having compromising/ naked photos of them taken, which are used to blackmail them into involuntary sex/ prostitution have been reported.
There are more than 142,000 prostitution in Malaysia and thousands of them are sex -trafficking victims.
Uganda: 600 Girls Victims of Human Trafficking in Malaysia.
(The Monitor, 15 Feb,2012)
A 15-year-old Malaysian girl, who has been missing for over a month after being abducted by an international child sex trafficking syndicate, has escaped from her captors in Thailand. (NST March 20,2012)
PedophiliaVictims of pedophilia are usually boys aged 13 or younger. Culprits abduct the children, bring them across borders, solicit them for sexual acts, and prostitute them to tourists and other pedophiles.
Between 2012 and 2014, over 8,000 children were reported missing in Malaysia. Many children had been found in the child sex trade in Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and many other countries.
Organ TraffickingYoung people are abducted for their organs, which are sold on the black market. Perpetrators find victims in places such as clubs or pubs and get them drunk or drug them. While the victim is alive but unconscious, the perpetrator harvests the victim’s organs.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will work with Home Ministry and police to investigate an allegation a local hospital conspired in an illegal kidney trade. (Star Newspaper, Sept 26, 2011)
A number of women are tricked by agencies promising them jobs in Malaysia. Instead, when they arrive, they are sold as brides to men. These men, however, are under the impression that they are paying for women who came to Malaysia as voluntary mail-order brides.
Children, abducted or kidnapped, are forced to beg for money. Sometimes their captors inflict injuries on the children so that they gain sympathy from the public. Cases have been reported in our neighboring countries.
Women become impregnated with the intent to sell their babies for a profit. University students are usually the main target as they need money for fees and other things. These women are paid according to the quality of the baby. The price per baby ranges from RM20,000 –RM60,000.(source from Tenaganita)
Story from Tenaganita Case File
Lina (not her real name) is only eight years old. At her age, she should be in school, playing and studying, or enjoying time with her friends.
But Lina is not so lucky. Her days have been dark and painful ever since her own father sold her to a syndicate that exploited her sexually.
Everyday, Lina, whose hometown is Selangor, had to provide sexual favors to men who were old enough to be her brother, father or grandfather.
She was controlled by a man simply called "uncle", never knowing why she was treated the way she was. She was unaware of her rights as a child.
Though most people do not realize it, such cases occur frequently around us.
The reality is that Lina is but a drop in the ocean of child victims of trafficking.