ON 7 Aug 2010, The Body Shop Malaysia organised a march down Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur in an effort to join the war against trafficking of children and young people for sexual exploitation. More than 100 people, including students of Inti College University, took part in the march. They distributed leaflets and car stickers to the public to raise awareness about the crime.
Human trafficking is the third largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labour, including sexual exploitation, at any given time as a result of trafficking. Of this, 1.4 million, or 56%, are in Asia and the Pacific.
An estimated 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked every year.
In 2009, The Body Shop Malaysia, together with non-governmental organisation partners Tenaganita, PS the Children and Nurusalam, embarked on a campaign to lobby for the ratification of the optional protocol for better protection of children against sexual exploitation. The optional protocol was created by the United Nations to complement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Malaysia is the remaining of three Southeast Asian countries which have yet to ratify the protocol. The other two are Burma and Singapore.
Members of the public are urged to sign the Stop Sex Trafficking Petition at any The Body Shop stores, or by visiting www.thebodyshop.com.my/stop. All pictures above by Soo Phye, with photos and caption information courtesy of The Body Shop Malaysia.