Activist Calls for Task Force against Pedophilia in Malaysia

nsnbc : Malaysian social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called for the establishment of a high-level task force to address child sex abuse in Malaysia. Lee’s call follows in the recent wave of outrage over atrocities committed by convicted British pedophile Richard Huckle. However, incest and child sex abuse are deeply entrenched in Malaysian society with foreigners being part of a greater problem.

Richard Huckle_UK_MalaysiaA British court sentenced Richard Huckle to 23 life sentences for crimes committed in Malaysia. Huckle admitted to 71 cases of child sex abuse. The majority of the victims were from impoverished communities in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

The “Christian volunteer” will serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars before he can be eligible for parole. Huckle worked as a free-lance teacher and photographer in impoverished communities in Malaysia.

Lee argues that the task force should be comprising police, Cyber Security Malaysia, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development as well as other relevant government agencies.

Lee also stresses that the task force and its constituents should cooperate closely with their foreign counterparts as the internet and other information technologies have turned pedophilia into an international matter that crosses national boundaries.

Socio-economic deprivation drives families to have their children "work the streets" of Jakarta.

Socio-economic deprivation drives families to have their children “work the streets” of Jakarta.

Lee, who is the Vice Chairman of the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation told Malaysia’s State news agency Bernama that:

“Having such a task force will enable our authorities to cooperate with their foreign counterparts to swiftly detect and nab perpetrators. This way, we can also identify the victims and their families quickly and immediately offer them counselling and other forms of help”.

Child sex tourism is one major factor in child sex abuse in several Asian countries including Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as Malaysia.

The need for international cooperation and a task force, as Lee calls for, has been demonstrated by a case in 2014 in Indonesia, where the Jakarta International School employed the known U.S. American child sex offender William James Vahey.

The case also underpins the need for background checks for persons, be they domestic of foreign, who are working with children.

U.S. Child Sex Offender working at Jakarta International School.

U.S. Child Sex Offender working at Jakarta International School.

nsnbc contacted the school to hear how the school would prevent similar incidents but did not receive any answer. In May 2016 Indonesia updated its child protection legislation, enabling courts to pass harsher sentences for child abuse, child sex abuse as well as murder.

Lee’s call for involving Cyber Security Malaysia can be justified by a study conducted by a Dutch NGO in 2013.

A Dutch human rights organization opened a YouTube account, pretending to be 10-year-old Philippine girl. The group used a computer animated, virtual girl “Sweety” as bait. (see video below)

Jaap van Santbrink, a member of the group behind Sweety, reports that more than 20.000 sexual predators from 71 countries asked Sweety for sexual services, without the virtual girl soliciting any sexual behaviors.

The group gave the information about the pedophiles to the appropriate police authorities.

Lee’s call is indeed justified, but risks neglecting the underlying socio-economic factors. Child sex tourism would not thrive in communities that are free from extreme social inequality and outright poverty.

In his article for nsnbc entitled “Incest, rape and pedophilia in the Malay Heartlands”, Murray Hunter stresses that over recent years Malay kampong life has witnessed a massive rise in drug use, crime, domestic violence, incest, and rape. The rural heartland of Malaysia has a dark-side, with an increase in incidence of domestic and social problems. Decades of state neglect and politicization of infrastructure at the very grassroots of society has been accompanied with a decay of social morals and ethics.

F/AK – nsnbc 11.06.2016

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