District Police Headquarters in South Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

Malaysian police say they rescued more than 20 Vietnamese women who had allegedly been forced to engage in vice in Johor Bahru, capital of the southern state of Johor, during a special operation in the early hours of Saturday.

At 1am, officers from the Johor state Criminal Investigation Department carried out an operation codenamed Noda in which they busted two entertainment centers, arresting 31 people including those in charge of the centers, Guang Ming Daily (Malaysia) reported on Monday.

Among those arrested were 23 Vietnamese women aged between 18 and 38, believed to be victims of human trafficking, who were working as guest-relations officers in the two centers, allegedly against their will.

Another five Vietnamese women and one Indonesian female were arrested for engaging in vice activities, while two male Malaysian nationals, 21 and 43, were identified as the managers of the two entertainment establishments.

During the operation, police also questioned 108 Malaysian men and 10 Malaysian women who visited the entertainment centers.

A 48-year-old Indonesian male customer was detained after failing to produce any valid travel documents.