PETALING JAYA: A total of 131 victims of human trafficking were successfully rescued thanks to the cooperation between the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM)) and Home Affairs Ministry in the first seven months of this year.

KPWKM Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun(pix) said all the victims had been placed in shelters run by either the government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and given interim protection orders (IPOs).

She said the victims had wanted to find jobs in Malaysia and were promised various benefits including a good salaries by syndicates, however, upon arrival in the country they realised they had been cheated and were forced to become prostitutes.

“The majority of the victims were exploited as labourers and others worked as prostitutes,“ she said when speaking at the World Day Against Trafficking 2022 event at Rumah Perlindungan Wanita Zon Tengah here today.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who officiated at the event, said the stable and progressive national economy were identified as pull factors for the increase in human trafficking activities to Malaysia yearly.

Hamzah said the country’s ability to provide job opportunities for foreigners in addition to internal problems, especially related to the economy in neighboring countries, also contributed to the problem.

“If you look at the anti-trafficking statistics, there is an increase every year. The reason is that Malaysia has a pull factor (economy) where we can give them jobs.

“On the other hand, push factors in neighbouring countries cause their people to be depressed in their respective countries. So, many people from Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other ASEAN countries come here because it is difficult to find work in their countries,“ he said.

Hamzah also said that many citizens from neighbouring countries came to Malaysia and became victims of some human trafficking syndicates who took advantage of them and made huge profits.-Bernama