I am sick and tired of seeing male and female police personnel milling around handcuffing semi-dressed women on TV news showing arrests of so-called “illegal immigrants”.
Such obnoxious reports are broadcast in every news bulletin on a daily basis, giving the impression that Malaysia is a very lucrative hub for illegal sex work and other syndicated criminal activities. The clear eagerness of TV and video cameras to catch these women (minimally dressed) being man-handled by male and female cops or immigration enforcers, and having numbers written on their arms like concentration camp inmates, will perhaps serve the voyeuristic fantasies of some sex perverts.
Airing such footage daily and dishing it out in every local news broadcast, advertises the fact that local broadcast media needs to sink to these levels of indignity and bad taste to bump up viewer numbers. As it is, competition is keen between online media, satellite TV, and local television, with local television losing out to its two rivals.
The footage suggests that droves of immigration offenders are arrested everyday in entertainment outlets, night clubs, massage parlors, brothels, and even rented accommodation where migrants live. The predictable reason for these arrests is, “abusing their social permits” or “having no valid travel documents”. It suggests that every such person has freely and voluntarily taken to becoming ‘guest relations officers’ (GROs) or are keen to sell their ‘assets’ in this way to anyone willing to take them on. The women are paraded and stigmatized as bad, sinful temptresses who know no decency.
Yet, one would ask, what about their clients? Or the pimps who recruit and traffic them? Are they not the initiators of this industry and don’t they deserve public condemnation. They’re usually talked about but remain invisible to the cameras. Information of the arrests of these perpetrators is so minimal, implying their cunning avoidance of the dragnet, potential corruption, or deliberate absence by some tip-off. The news stories stop there, with no follow-up reports of prosecutions and trial verdicts of these perpetrators.
Criminalizing possibly trafficked women and hiding those who exploit them will do nothing to stem ongoing human trafficking, illegal prostitution (sex work is legal in some countries), the rising number of flesh trade victims or even, undocumented entry into the country.