Sugar Dating Is Prostitution – Nur Farihah Meor Mazli

We refer to the MalayMail article dated 5 January 2020.

Sugar dating, where one exchanges love and affection for money clearly only brings harm rather than good. It is bewildering how anyone could think that this is a good idea. Not only does it degrade the honorable status of women in society, it also promotes adultery and prostitution, and exposes young girls (and young boys) to online predators. It creates ‘open season’ for sexual offenders and adults carrying sexually transmitted diseases who could be amongst the app users.

Not to mention that there are numerous cases documented involving online scammers which have affected women financially and the culprits have yet to be captured. The possibilities are endless, from online grooming to encountering risks of sexual abuse and rape. This is due to the advanced technology available where creating fake profiles is easy, making it hard for legal authorities to identify these criminals.

Like any other online dating application, Sugarbook is not immune to any of the above consequences. The continuous advertisement of this sugar dating platform which unashamedly uses the slogan ‘where romance meets finance’ via social media and billboards nationwide is a clear violation of local norms and obviously leads to the destruction of the sanctity of the family institution.

We trust that it is the intention of our policymakers to deter the ever-burgeoning crimes and social ills in Malaysia including prostitution. Section 372 of Penal Code should already be a harsh warning to those exploiting or soliciting any persons with the purpose of prostitution. However, since ‘sugaring’ has not been specifically addressed under Malaysian civil laws as it is a relatively new phenomenon, we call on our legislators to rule that purchase of intimate attention, sexual or otherwise by average, upper class or wealthy clients from any individuals without any legal relationship be made a serious crime in Malaysia with heavy penalties.

This would require full participation from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to instigate legal action against the website operators if the content is found to be inappropriate, illicit and leads to scamming. Our government, especially the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development should also take part in ensuring the rights of all Malaysian women are protected.

Nur Farihah Meor Mazli
Youth & Media Exco, International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution & Quality Education (WAFIQ)
Director of Media, Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process (MACSA)

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