Government considers new measures to tackle human trafficking

30 Jun 2018 / 16:39 H.

PETALING JAYA: Hefty penalties for offenders and leeway for victims to seek employment, are among measures the government will seek to implement in combating human trafficking.
Acknowledging Malaysia's downgrade in the United States' latest annual report on human trafficking, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pledged to further improve Malaysia's anti-trafficking efforts.
He said the report will be used as a guide to evaluate ongoing measures.
Muhyiddin said the government will consider the proposal to amend the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007, giving focus on the protection of human trafficking victims and prevention by increasing the penalties.
He said implementation of regulations would be improved to permit the trafficked victims to freely move around and work.
"The report states that Malaysia did not fully meet the minimum standards in eliminating human trafficking.
"The government under the Pakatan Harapan administration takes note of the TIP annual report and will continue to be committed in eradicating the human trafficking crime," Muhyiddin said in a statement today.
He said Malaysia had been placed on the Tier 2 watch list for nine times throughout the 2006-2018 period.
The United States (US) State Department in its 2018 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released on Thursday, has placed Malaysia in the Tier 2 watch list, which is a drop from Tier 2 rank in 2017.
The evaluation was conducted on 187 countries including Malaysia and comprises the aspects of prevention, enforcement and protection.
Muhyiddin also said other measures to strengthen efforts to curb this crime includes increasing prevention efforts through close cooperation with NGOs, industries and integrated action between agencies.
He said there will be significant improvements on labour laws including the implementation of foreign labour levy by employers since Jan 1 and the amendments to the Private Employment Agencies Act to increase penalties on agencies that fail to comply with labour laws.

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