3 Human Trafficking Ruses To Watch Out For
Safety is a huge concern – no matter your age, gender or race. We’ve been warned about managing our safety in hotels and it has become easier to find the steps to take for if you’re being sexually harassed at work. Now, we need to be wary of how people are evolving their methods of assault along with changes to technology. While social media and the internet make it easier to bust syndicates that try to rope young women into their sinister ploys, it is also difficult to discern the truth from all the fake news. What’s real is that in 2019, Malaysia was reported to be on the Tier 2 Watch List for the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report produced by the US State Department. This tier accommodates “all countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards”. Here are three common recurring incidents that we need to take the initiative to look out for –
1. “God The Mother”
While this isn’t the first time this ploy has come up, it’s been a while since the news of this “cult-like group” was last heard of here in Malaysia. However, this incident happened just yesterday in a very well populated local train station. It is noted that young women are being forced to listen to, fill in forms or give up their details to people who are claiming to support “God The Mother”. They claim to want the information in order to invite you to a Bible Study session. However, the idea that the phrase “God The Mother” is linked to sex trafficking activities has been debunked and confirmed to be untrue for a while now.
It is the members of the World Mission Society Church of God (WMS), founded in 1948 and lead by the “spiritual mother” or “God the Mother” Jang Gil-Ja in South Korea that these rumours are based on. The members of this society have been fighting these rumours for years, with government and non-government bodies confirming that there has been no trace evidence of criminal activity from the group.
Stay safe by keeping your details and personal information – well, personal.
2. Catfishing With A “Job Ad”/”Promise Of A Better Life”
With rampant use of social media, sex traffickers have also started to employ features on Facebook, WhatsApp & Snapchat to prey on young girls with the promise of a job or even, love. More cunning criminals would use WhatsApp (encrypted messages) and Snapchat (disappearing messages). Back in 2015, a Malaysian man and two women from Thailand were arrested for trapping women from abroad by using Facebook to share promises of work in restaurants, spas, and karaoke bars. However, when these women arrived, they were trapped into sex work. In a statement to the Telegraph in 2014, Rob Wainwright, the then director of European policing agency Europol said that Facebook was an effective way to attract vulnerable women and also monitor them remotely.
More recently, Snapchat has been the go-to place for predators, with cases dating back to 2016. The above was in circulation in Massachusetts in 2019, but local police have announced that there is no evidence to back this claim. However, this is a reminder to always be wary with your location services on your apps!
3. Car Trouble
A common thread that comes up is women who find themselves in precarious situations because their cars have been tempered with. From zip ties on windshield wipers to large rocks stopping your tyres from moving – there are tonnes of reports from women across the globe of methods attackers use to prey on them.
Attacks in car parks are very common, with one woman recently found dead in a car park in Puchong after having been attacked and robbed. While car tempering in carparks is not a common mode of operation for sex traffickers, it is still one to be very careful of as it could lead to potentially fatal situations.
While some of these have already been debunked as being seen simply as rumours, keep a watchful eye out at all times – it’s better to be safe than sorry! This interesting infographic from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) depicts precautions that can be taken when feeling threatened –
These steps include –
- Pretending to be on the phone as you recite your location.
- Taking down the number plates of the vehicles you are getting onto/getting off of.
- Pressing all the buttons in the lift and the alarm if needed.
- Keeping pepper spray handy.
- Heading to the nearest crowded area or police station that you know of should you find yourself being followed.
- Making a dash for the kitchen should someone enter your home and arm yourself with chilli powder, knives or plates (be wary, these weapons can also be used against you). Make a ruckus to get the attention of neighbours.
You can also head to PRDM’s website for confirmation of fake news.