PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s upgrade to Tier 2 in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017 is the best ranking achieved by the nation since 2007, said Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.
In a statement yesterday, Alwi said the upgrade was based on the improvements in investigation, prosecution and charging of human trafficking cases here compared to previous years.
“This achievement is a result of integrated commitment shown by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (Mapo) through its high-level committee, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
“Malaysia has also improved national initiative by actively involving non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to protect victims following amendments to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act in 2015,” he said.
According to Alwi, Malaysia sentenced 35 individuals for human trafficking offences last year, compared with seven the year before.
In addition, some 42 civil servants – some from law enforcement – suspected of being involved in human trafficking have been arrested and investigated.
“Malaysia will continue to increase effectiveness of prosecution through collaboration with enforcement agencies, deputy public prosecutors and those assigned to protect victims.
“The Government will not compromise with any parties found either directly or indirectly involved with human trafficking crimes,” he said.
On the suggestions to improve as stated in the report, Alwi said Malaysia has to look into better protection for victims of trafficking through strategic collaboration with NGOs for programmes including additional shelters.
The shelters will resolve the issue of overcrowding at government shelters and ensure victims are treated according to basic human rights laws.
“In this respect, the Government welcomes involvement of NGOs to protect victims, including appointing 12 protection officers.
“Financial aid will be given to two NGOs to operate shelters for victims of human trafficking, starting July this year,” said Alwi.
He said employers must be committed to paying a levy for foreign workers as agreed, starting January next year, to prevent them from being involved in debt bondage and prone to exploitation.
“Malaysia remains committed to eradicating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants through full implementation of the Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan (2016-2020),” he said.