600 Ugandan girls ‘victims of Malaysia sex trade’

African victims of sex trafficking narrate their stories. At least 600 Ugandan girls have reportedly been forced into Malaysia’s sex trade. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |
By PHILIPPA CROOMEPosted Wednesday, February 15  2012 at  12:41

At least 600 Ugandan girls have been forced into Malaysia’s sex trade in what has become a human trafficking epidemic, a foreign diplomat has said.

Hajah Noraihan, the Malaysian consul to Uganda, said despite an early warning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008 when the number of trafficked girls stood at 30, the constant flow of victims had not slowed.

She said Malaysian intelligence indicated 10 girls continued to fall through the cracks of Uganda’s immigration and labour systems daily.

“Nothing was done and this is what happened,” Ms Noraihan said.

Malaysia is currently on a US State Department watch list for not having shown adequate evidence of its efforts to combat the scourge.

 However, it has been working to curb the illegal practice after a raid last October in which 21 Ugandan girls were freed from forced prostitution.

Only five of these have since returned to Uganda, while the rest were being held in a Malaysian detention centre, Ms Noraihan said.

A total of 60 girls were being held on fraudulent visa charges as a result of an ongoing immigration sweep.

The line between girls who were “caught” or “saved” as Ms Noraihan termed them, was often a matter of technicality. A victim’s silence or shame could see them face criminal charges instead of being brought back to Uganda, she said.



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