Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Anambra people resident in Malaysia yesterday raised the alarm over what they called increasing cases of Anambra women and girls in Malaysia falling victims of sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation.
The residents, under the umbrella of Anambra State Welfare Association, Malaysia (ASWAM), said it was disheartening to note the new trend, where young girls from the state and other South-Eastern states had increasingly joined the international prostitution rings and syndicates.
Describing the situation as embarrassing and unbearable, ASWAM said it was determined to combat the menace and stop it at the root, by preventing sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation of Anambra State women.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, yesterday, ASWAM Chairman, Mr. Okwunwanne Mmaduka, debunked the allegation that Igbo in Malaysia were into kidnapping and other criminal activities, stressing that most of them were into genuine businesses, while some others were studying in various institutions there.
He said in their quest to combat the sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation of the women, the association would meet with Governor Willie Obiano, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, other monarchs and other stakeholders from the state to find ways of stopping the trend.
He said: “Before now, Midwest girls were reputed to engage in international prostitution, especially in Italy and Malaysia. However, there seems to be a new trend in recent times as young girls from Anambra and other South-Eastern states seem to have increasingly joined the international prostitution rings and syndicates.
“ASWAM is disturbed by the increasing cases of Anambra State women and girls in Malaysia falling victims of sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation.
“ASWAM is, therefore, employing community based and state-wide campaigns to combat the menace of sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sex exploitation of Anambra women and girls in Malaysia.
“We are determined to combat this menace and stop it at the root by preventing sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation of Anambra State women. We are taking the campaigns to our families, communities and traditional institutions here in Anambra State.
“We are raising awareness among our young people, parents, traditional rulers, the government and the general public on the dangers of Anambra women and girls’ involvement in commercial sex and human trafficking in Malaysia, most of who are victims.”
Mmaduka disclosed that the association receives over 20 complaints each week on the activities of the traffickers, noting that a lot of them had lost their lives in the process.
ASWAM, he further said, had rescued most of them and sent them back to Nigeria, while some others were sent to school in Malaysia, lamenting that the trend was giving Ndigbo bad name in Malaysia and beyond.