Friday June 22, 2012
Report: More knowledge on human trafficking needed
By SHAILA KOSHY and ISABELLE LAI
PETALING JAYA: Front-line officials who lack understanding of human trafficking are hampering Malaysia's efforts to fight the crime, said the United States' 2012 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report.
These officials included those from the police, immigration and labour departments, it said.
“(This) continues to hinder the identification and proper investigation of trafficking cases and identification and assistance to trafficking victims,” said the report.
Released annually by the US Department of State, it recommended that the Government increase its training for officials to effectively handle sex and labour trafficking cases.
It said the training should have a particular emphasis on victim protection and identification of labour trafficking victims.
The report noted that Malaysia had been placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year because the Government had not “shown evidence of overall increasing efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year”.
Malaysia, it said, was only granted a waiver from a required downgrade to Tier 3 because it had a written plan which, if implemented, could make significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
The report said foreign victims were still confined to “substandard facilities” and provided insufficient legal, translation or psychological resources.
However, it noted the Govern-ment's continued efforts to pre-vent human trafficking, including continuing an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign in the media.
Officials, it said, also displayed an increased willingness to speak about the dangers of labour trafficking in addition to sex trafficking.
On the issue of sex trafficking, it noted that there was an increasing number of Ugandan women fraudulently recruited to Malaysia and forced into prostitution upon arrival.
It stated that Ugandan and Nigerian syndicates transported victims between China and Malaysia, using threats of physical harm, including voodoo, towards the victims and their families.