Two Malaysians arrested in Batam for suspected human trafficking

Seven people suspected of involvement in a human trafficking case, including two Malaysian nationals (left and second left) line up during a case expose at the Barelang Police on Oct. 21.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The Batam, Rempang and Galang (Barelang) Police recently raided a prostitution business posing as a spa and massage parlour and arrested seven people, including two Malaysian nationals allegedly involved in human trafficking.

The spa, Asmara 22 in the Nagoya Paradise area, Batam, provided sex services to customers, Barelang Police's criminal investigation unit deputy chief Adj. Comr. Herman Kelly said on Sunday. Police raided the site on Thursday based on a tip-off from local residents who reported suspicious activities taking place at the parlour, which was allegedly funded by the two Malaysians.

"The business had only been operating for several months according to them [the suspects]," Herman told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

The Malaysian nationals were named as Bahtiar Bahtiar Effendy bin M. Amin and M. Yahya bin Ikhwan. Meanwhile, the five other suspects are Indonesians who operated the business, namely Rofinus Arifin, Soni Lobudi, Rony bin Zulkarnaen, Ahmad Sulehat and Dany Mustofa.

The police would charge them under the 2007 Human Trafficking Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment, Herman added.

The Malaysian men were arrested for allegedly each investing Rp 150 million (S$16,000) in the business. Rofinus is suspected of managing the funds to recruit women as sex workers as well as rent the massage parlour space.

During the raid, police confiscated several pieces of evidence and cash believed to be from illicit transactions.

The suspected sex workers mostly came from Batam. The parlour charged between Rp 600,000 and Rp 1.5 million per meeting.

"They received a salary and commission from the transactions," Herman said regarding the alleged prostitutes, adding that Asmara 22 also offered services through social media.

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