'Be My Protector': Launch of new anti-human trafficking app

PETALING JAYA: The fight against human trafficking in the country could be intensified following the launch of the first ever anti-human trafficking mobile application in Southeast Asia.

The app, aptly named "Be My Protector", is the brainchild of human rights organisations Tenaganita and Change Your World (CYW), and required two years of development leading up to its release.

Describing the launch as a historical moment, Tenaganita director Aegile Fernandez said the app was necessary to allow the public and the victims themselves to have a proper channel to report cases of human trafficking.

"We have enforcement, but that is a different level. That's when the idea of the app came about. It took us two years of sitting down, brainstorming and testing.

"We could not let the matter just go. I always question why are we the losers in this war against human trafficking? We should be the winners, and today this dream has become a reality," she said at the launch, here today.

Among others present were CYW chairman Datuk Pee Kang Seng (who is also Berjaya Land Berhad chief executive officer), CYW co-founder Kelvin Lim, Selangor state speaker Hannah Yeoh and several human trafficking survivors.

The app, which went live both on the Apple App Store and Google Play, is free to download and is available in eight different languages, allowing foreign nationals within Malaysia to also directly report cases of exploitation.

Reports can also be made anonymously to protect the identity of those making the report, and requires five easy steps, including reporting the location of the incident, the type and severity, and who is the subject of the report.

Once a report is lodged, Tenaganita will investigate the authenticity of the case, before reporting directly to the authorities in order for action to be taken.

Fernandez also urged the authorities, including the police and Immigration Department, to be more aggressive in the battle against trafficking, noting that a number of cases involved law enforcement personnel being in cahoots with agents of traffickers.

Meanwhile, Pee said the launch of the app was timely, considering the high number of human trafficking cases taking place each year.

He said CYW targets to have at least 100,000 app downloads by year-end, and one million within the next five years.

"I have seen in front of my eyes many cases of trafficking, and it really touched my heart. Which is why we developed this app, so that the public and victims have an instrument and platform to report to the authorities," he added.