GEORGE TOWN: Nine people, including six women, were charged in the sessions court here today with three counts of trafficking of three local women for sexual exploitation since 2017.
K. Kumaran, 40, P. Pumugam, 33, E. Eswaran, 22, D. Dhanam, 36 (said to be Kumaran’s wife), S.S. Rajesvari, 35, B. Kavitah, 34, T. Sarmilah, 24, T. Kausalya, 22, and Kumaran’s mother-in-law S. Leelavathy, 48, pleaded not guilty.
The charges were read to them in Tamil by a court interpreter before magistrate Jamaliah Abd Manap.
All the accused were jointly charged together with a suspect who is still at large with committing the offences at 2A, Jalan Southbay 7, Residence @ Southbay, Batu Maung, near here, between June 2017 and January this year.
They were charged under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007 and read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine, if convicted.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Farah Aimy Zainul Anwar did not offer the accused any bail as they were involved in a human trafficking syndicate for the purpose of prostitution and could disturb the victims as they know where the victims stay.
Lawyer Dr Shamsher Singh Thind, representing all the accused, had asked for bail, saying that his clients had fully cooperated with the police while Kumaran, the owner of a scrap metal shop, had to support eight of the accused and 11 children, with three of them still small.
The court, however, did not allow bail for all the accused and set May 18 for case management. - Bernama