Eight Children Rescued from Traffickers

18/7/2010 - Eight children have been rescued from a child trafficking ring in Malaysia. 16 suspects have been detained.

Today, Malaysian officials announced that police forces have rescued eight children from the clutches of child traffickers.  Three of the children were babies, the youngest being only 23 days old and the oldest being twelve. A total of 16 suspected child traffickers have been detained on charges of child trafficking.

One Indonesian woman had tried to sell a baby girl who was less than a month old for USD$3 120 dollars. She was discovered by a plainclothes policewoman, whom she had tried to sell the baby to.

The final raid of the bust was completed on Friday in Batu Kawa, where a boy (aged four) and girl (aged three) were rescued. Their captors or caretakers, a pair of Indonesian sisters aged 22 and 19, were detained.

While four Indonesian women have been detained in total, it is not known whether any of the children are not of Malaysian citizenship.

At any rate, said State Criminal Investigation Department Chief AND Senior Assistant Commissioner Huzir Mohamad, it is very likely that Malaysian officials will seek to put their heads together with their Indonesian counterparts as the investigation progresses. Mr. Mohamad also said that even more arrests can be expected.

This is the second major rescue effort by Malaysian authorities in less than a year. Last December, 13 people were arrested on five years’ worth of charges in child trafficking. Five babies were rescued. This trafficking ring was apparently operating based on their ability to target vulnerable young women and talking them out of having abortions in order to purchase their babies once born and sell them to families in a lucrative form of adoption brokering.

It becomes clear then, that the enabling factors for child trafficking are rooted not only in poverty, but also in the wider problem of female reproductive health, rights and empowerment.

Child trafficking is illegal under the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the optional 2000 protocol to that convention, “On the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.” It is also outlawed in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 “The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour,”

Despite these condemnations, child trafficking remains a persistent problem in much of South and East Asia as well as in the rest of the world.