KUALA LUMPUR: Seven Myanmar nationals and two Bangladeshis were held in Kedah on Monday for their alleged involvement in smuggling migrants in an ongoing operation against human trafficking. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (pix) said today the foreigners were detained for investigations as they are believed to be part of human trafficking syndicates operating in Kedah. He said the latest arrests bring the total number of those held to 19 since the discovery of human trafficking camps in Perlis and the influx of 1,019 foreigners in Langkawi in May. Khalid said in May, eight Bangladeshis, a Myanmar and a Malaysian were detained over the landing of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in Langkawi. He added that the detained Malaysian man whose boat was used to ferry the migrants was charged in court on June 20 under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM). All those detained are being probed under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, (SOSMA). Khalid, who was at the closing ceremony of an anti-trafficking in persons and anti-smuggling of migrants seminar at the Police Officers' College, Cheras, said measures are also being taken to improve Malaysia's standing in the US State Department's trafficking-in-person report which was downgraded from tier 2 to tier 3. "We have to increase our efforts by several folds in fighting this crime in order to be find our way up again to Tier 2. This is modern day slavery and a wicked crime. It is exploitation of human beings and is condemned by the law and also religion. We are going all out to apprehend those behind it, including the big fish. However, its not an easy task as the big fish are based overseas or have fled the country." he said. Khalid said the seminar touched on many subjects on human trafficking, including the weaknesses in enforcement.