KLANG, Malaysia - They were lured from their homes holding on to a dream to live the good life away from the poverty back home.
But reality was a living nightmare for the dozens of foreign women who ended up trapped in a prostitution racket operating in the spas of several hotels here.
The women were forced to entertain up to seven men daily and subjected to intolerable living conditions, said Federal Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan.
"The women were kept locked in hotel rooms.
"There were about 20 of them to a room that is meant for two people," said SAC Abdul Jalil.
In the rooms, the women slept side by side on three mattresses placed together, with a small table to place food and drinks.
Teddy bears and fluffy pillows comforted them while they slept before having to start work in dimly lit massage parlours.
The front counter of the spas had photo albums containing "glamour shots" of the women.
Police also found rooms which came with inflatable beds for "massages".
The women were expected to be sex workers for a year to pay off the human traffickers who brought them into the country.
They were rescued when officers from Bukit Aman's Anti-Human Trafficking Unit simultaneously raided three premises at midnight on Wednesday.
A total of 54 women, comprising 42 Indonesians, eight Vietnamese, one Chinese and three Indians, aged between 20 and 36, were taken by the police.
SAC Abdul Jalil said some of the women had been in the country for at least four months while there were others who had been here for only a week.
He added that the women who had been interviewed so far had said they had been sexually exploited.
SAC Abdul Jalil also criticised local councils which issued licences to such premises without investigating the actual nature of the businesses.
He added that the renovations done inside the premises such as hidden partitions did not meet Fire and Rescue Department specifications.