TO most, if not all people, prostitution is a dirty word. The very mention of it conjures up images of good time women soliciting for immoral purposes.
But in some cases, involvement in the flesh trade is not lust-motivated as found out to be in some of the ‘red light’ areas in the city.
Girls — foreign and local alike — are also brought to brothels or lodging houses at customers’ request and vice- versa. Some come to the city on ‘contract’.
While dire circumstances have forced many women into prostitution, there are also those who do it to make a fast buck, as one sex worker confides.
These women entered the State on social visit passes, working at night entertainment outlets, massage parlours and reflexology centres as guest relations officers (GROs) or call girls. This, according to the sex worker, spawned organised gangs or ‘contacts’ as they are known in flesh trade jargon. Women were taken to Kuching and other major towns where the demand for foreign girls was reportedly high.
Another sex worker said these gangs, who served as go-betweens for brothel operators, supplied sex workers on ‘contracts’ for anything from RM200 to RM800 a night.
Meanwhile, police do not rule out the involvement of gangs in the flesh trade as investigations, based on intelligence adduced so far, do indicate involvement of gangs in prostitution rackets as this happens in Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Bintulu, Sarikei, Kapit and Limbang.
On the sex workers on ‘contract’, based on the confessions of syndicate pimps, there was such a thing.
In many parts of the world, the sex industry is reportedly living off groups of financiers who provide for operators of ‘sex trade companies’ and their workers … apparently for mutual benefit.
Whenever police raid brothels and produce sex workers in court, these financiers would come up with bagfuls of cash to settle the bails or fines imposed.
In some cases, money is advanced to equip brothels with luxuries like revolving beds and mirrored rooms. Some brothels are said to even outshine star-rated hotels in terms of modern facilities.
This is one business where no surety or guarantor is needed. Everything works on mutual trust. The woman returns the money after she takes an advance from her ‘employer’.
The sex industry did appear to be a lucrative business with the alleged backing of financiers, the constraints in curbing this social vice so far were the lack of evidence, the lack of intelligence on past criminal records and involvement of syndicates and disjointed and uncoordinated investigations and prosecution.
In accordance with Malaysian laws, prostitution is a crime under the Penal Code via Sections 372, 372A, 372B, 373 and 376.