THE Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) of the National Security Ministry will review one of its advertisements on sexual grooming after an independent senator called it "stupid" and said it "burns my soul" whenever she sees it.
There is a regularly-run television ad by the CTU, which focuses on two men conversing with one giving the other tips on how to sexually groom girls.
The video begins with a man telling his partner to leave, adding, "Doh give me no (sic) attitude."
His friend responds, "Yuh have she under manners, boy. I wish I had your touch."
The first man then tells his friend the key to achieving this is to groom his victims.
He says, "First, you have to target them, scope them out, see if they have low self-esteem (or) family problems, you know? Then, you move in and gain their trust. After that, you fill a need – some of them like nice things like fancy phones, hair-dos, clothes, food...It have ones who only looking for somebody to care and listen to their problems."
He continues, "You have to isolate them from their people. Let them believe it's all about you and them, then you get through."
He then tells his friend to go try what he was taught to a girl. The video was first aired in 2017.
Speaking at a joint select committee meeting on human rights, equality and diversity on Friday, Independent Senator Michelle Thompson-Ahye – a committee member – said she wanted to address something that was "burning" her.
She said the unit has an ad that is "very offensive" to her and should be offensive to everyone.
"That ad that they want to do something with, it is not working...It's sending the wrong message because it's actually saying what to do."
She urged the unit to try doing the ad in a "more positive way" to avoid encouraging potential perpetrators and convince them to "do the right thing.
"Don't tell them what to do! Tell the girls how to protect themselves in a positive way!"
She then asked committee chairman Dr Muhammad Yunus Ibrahim if he is familiar with the ad, to which he said yes.
Thompson-Ahye continued, "Why are you doing it in that way? It makes absolutely no sense and I'm so glad for the opportunity to say that because every time I see that ad, it burns my soul. Who can conceive of something like that?
"It's stupid! That's the only description. Don't do it that way! Fix it, because there are many people out there who now thinking of doing the crime and you telling them what to do? No, sir, that's not right."
Kimoy Thomas, deputy director of the unit, told Thompson-Ahye her concerns were noted and the unit will "revisit it."
However, she said, the unit has used the ad in educational drives at schools and "It brings a lot of good conversation among younger peeps." Thompson-Ahye said she was heartened by the response.