KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 ― Malaysia has slightly upgraded its position in the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released last night, climbing out of the Tier 2 Watch List.
Despite that, the Southeast Asian country still remains in the Tier 2 for the third year in a row since it was promoted from the bottom tier in 2015.
“The Government of Malaysia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.
“The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Malaysia was upgraded to Tier 2,” said the report.
Malaysia was upgraded from the bottom tier, Tier 3, to the Tier 2 Watch List in 2015’s TIP report, but the decision was criticised as an ostensible move to allow Malaysia to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with the US, as the latter imposes an automatic non-aid and non-trade sanction on countries at the bottom tier.
According to the US State Department, there are three criteria that differentiates between “Tier 2” and “Tier 2 Watch List”.
In the latter, victims of severe forms of trafficking in the ranked country is very significant or is significantly increasing, and there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat it.
The recommendations in this year’s report is mostly similar to last year’s, such as for Malaysia to publicly gazette and fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Act 2015.
The report also recommended Malaysia to increase the number and effectiveness of trafficking prosecutions and convictions, including of complicit officials, in addition to making public the results of investigations involving corrupt officials.
Malaysia had languished in the Tier 2 Watch List since 2010 before it was downgraded to Tier 3 in 2014.
The report was compiled using information from US embassies, government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, published reports, news articles, academic studies, research trips to every region of the world, and tip-offs.