Immigration officials in Penang rescued five Indonesian women on Tuesday tricked into traveling to Malaysia by human traffickers and forced to do domestic work without pay or rest, while two traffickers who posed as employment agents were arrested.

After a month of inquiries, authorities in Penang swooped on the morning of November 27, arresting a 48-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman for allegedly trafficking women into Malaysia and coercing them to work by confiscating their personal documents, the Guang Ming Daily (Malaysia) reported.

Officers were led by the suspects on raids of four premises where they rescued five women aged between 20 and 26. According to the victims’ statements, the syndicate forced them to work for more than 12 hours every day and they never received any salary.

The women were also deprived of proper rest and freedom and not allowed to phone anyone, including their families.

A total of six Indonesian passports, 465 ringgit (US$111) in cash, three mobile phones, one debit card, three credit cards, a company stamp and receipts, plus two cars were seized at the premises in Sungai Petani.

Preliminary inquiries found that the man was the mastermind of the syndicate, which had been active in operation for the past two years. It allegedly earned between 10,000 and 15,000 ringgit every month from each of the worker, who entered Malaysia via Johor and were brought to households in Sungai Petani in Kedah.

The suspects have been detained under Section 117 of Malaysia’s Criminal Procedure Code of 1970.