KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian pimps, wary of police raiding parties, have found a novel way to promote their ‘services’ and at the same time avoid arrest by the authorities – by seeking refuge in cyberspace.
Breaking from the traditional format of either luring customers from street corners and seedy spas, prostitution syndicates are making full use of the potentials of the internet and are now brazenly using technology as a means of promoting the world’s oldest profession.
Punters seeking prostitutes can now log on to one of numerous websites available, which display a ‘menu’ of women which customers can choose from to satisfy their urges.
The ‘online brothels’, available via a simple Google search, make no attempt to disguise what is on offer. Images of scantily-clad women are listed, each bearing details such as the woman’s body measurements, type of service available, their current location, and ultimately, price.
Among the nationalities on offer include China nationals, Thais, Vietnamese and Indonesians. The sex workers from these countries are usually priced between RM170 to RM200.
Other nationalities, such as Russians, Japanese and Koreans are also available, but higher prices. Checks show that these women range from RM270 to above RM1,000.
Most of the websites appear to be part of a broader nationwide network. While some focus only on the Klang Valley, many others feature sub-menus which offer women in locations such as Penang, Perak, Johor, Pahang, and even Singapore.
For the uninitiated, these websites list out a simple step-by-step process for the potential customer. Once he has made a selection, he then contacts the pimp, whose number is listed on the site itself. Some websites appear to have adopted a system whereby certain pimps are assigned to different locations, with specific contact numbers.
Once the customer rings the pimp and makes an appointment, the client is then informed on where to meet the sex worker for their rendezvous. Checks show that these trysts usually take place in smaller hotels in the Klang Valley, where the prostitutes are housed by the syndicates.
Upon arrival at the hotel, the client again contacts the pimp, who then reveals the girl’s room number. The client then makes his way to the hotel room, where payment is made to the girl before the deed takes place.
Checks by Malaysian Digest showed that several of these websites have been in existence since 2008, and receive as many as 500,000 visitors each month. The traffic comes not only from Malaysia, but also Europe and other countries within the Asian continent.
Further checks suggest that the staggering page views are not only for viewing purposes. Chat and comment functions on these websites show that the girls are frequently shifted among the locations, based on customer demand. Commenters frequently write in to request for a specific girl to be shifted to a location closer to their respective townships for easier access.
Website figures analysis also revealed that the majority of men who frequent the sites are working professionals aged between 35 to 44-years-old.
Investigation showed that the websites are usually promoted within underground discussion forums. Such forums, which are strictly membership-based, offer like-minded men an avenue to discuss new locations to visit and new stocks of sex workers. Members even provide ratings for the sex workers based on the women’s performance.
Frequent customers who engage the services of these syndicates usually also receive SMS alerts on the availability of ‘new stock’ of sex workers.
Internet: The Game-Changer for Prostitution Syndicate
Concerned Malaysians have pointed out that the existence of these websites can hamper enforcement action from the authorities.
A social worker with an anti-human trafficking organization, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while such sites have reduced the number of pimps on the streets, it has also made it more difficult for police to arrest them.
“It is frustrating when you note that such a scheme offers little to zero risk for the pimps. There is no physical contact between the customer and the syndicate members; everything is done via cell phone. No one knows what the pimp looks like, and where he is, making police’s job even harder than it already is.
“Even if policed manage to discover the location of the girls, there is still no guarantee that the women will even know who they work for, or where their boss is as everything is done remotely. The internet has become a game-changer for prostitution syndicates,” he said.
A Selangor resident, meanwhile, said it was worrying to note the sheer number of such websites which are in existence.
“Previously, parents only had to worry about their children wandering to wrong parts of town lest they become exposed to such social illnesses.
“But the internet has now exposed anyone to this. All it takes is a curious teenager to be lured into ‘trying’ out the service, which could potentially be disastrous,” he said. - mD