Malay police rescue 23 Vietnamese women near Kuala Lumpur

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Malaysian police raided a karaoke parlor on February 23 in Cheras, an eastern suburb of Kuala Lumpur, rescuing 23 Vietnamese women they said might be victims of a human trafficking ring.

Malaysian newspaper The Star Online reported on the same day that the scantily-clad women, aged 19-35, were found at around 1 a.m. together with some 40 customers by Malaysia's Bukit Aman Anti Trafficking in Persons unit at a two-storey building with over a dozen rooms.

According to the news website, the karaoke parlor has a valid operating license.

The unit's chief and the officer who led the raid, Deputy Superintendent Nor Omar Sappi, said the Vietnamese women had made use of their social visit passes, which allowed them to enter and stay in Malaysia for one month, but which forbid working in accordance with the country's Immigration Act..

But he said he believed these women, who had hoped to find legitimate jobs in Malaysia, had been lured into seedy activities including prostitution in Klang Valley, an area encompassing the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, as well as neighboring cities and towns in the state of Selangor.

A representative from the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia told Thanh Nien on February 25 that the agency had yet to receive any information about the case.

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