Child rights advocates have long pushed the government to publicly disclose data on child sexual abuse to increase awareness so action can be taken to address what they call a growing problem.
A veil was lifted in June when a British court handed Richard Huckle 22 life sentences for abusing up to 200 babies and children, mostly in Malaysia, and sharing images of his crimes on the dark web.
In 17 years of operation, PS the Children, Malaysia’s biggest NGO dealing with child abuse, has seen zero convictions on the cases it has handled, its founder Madeleine Yong told Reuters.
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"Boy, 3kg, $2000." The online message, complete with photos of a tiny newborn, advertises an underground trade where babies are commodities worth thousands of dollars.
Malaysia is a hub for baby selling, with buyers able to choose their own baby based on gender, race and skin colour.
But increasingly, paedophile activity is moving into the online world, police say.
Team Argos, the Australian detective unit that found Huckle in the dark web in late 2014, made a startling discovery from the team’s scouring of online paedophile networks: the unusual number of internet addresses in the Kuala Lumpur area transmitting child sexual abuse material from the dark web.
Weak policing and child protection laws make it difficult to punish child abusers in Malaysia, leading to inadequate investigations and low convictions on the reported cases, according to officials and child welfare groups Reuters interviewed.