Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home Ministry probes human trafficking ring

Source: http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News (Reports by V. Vasudevan, Sajahan Waheed and Lydia Gomez, 01/12/2009)
ONE government officer has been taken to court for trafficking in Myanmar refugees, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday. He said the ministry is investigating the issue which has been cited as one of the main reasons for Malaysia being blacklisted by the US State Department in its Trafficking in Persons Report this year. Malaysia and 16 other countries were placed on Tier 3 of the report which analysed efforts taken to combat human trafficking in 173 countries.
In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), Hishammuddin said the government officer was among the 39 human trafficking cases prosecuted so far.
He said since the Anti-Human Trafficking Act was enforced in February last year, 88 people have been arrested and five were charged and convicted. Other efforts to tackle the problem include a five-year National Anti-Human Trafficking Strategic Action Plan; setting up more shelters for victims, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, including one shelter for male victims; working with Australia, United States and the Netherlands to carry out awareness programmes for enforcement officers and improving the cooperation network in neighbouring and sender countries. "The Myanmar refugee problem is not something that can be handled by Malaysia alone because this is a regional and international problem. "This issue has to be dealt with carefully by rectifying the root cause."
He said the Attorney-General's Chambers was reviewing the act to resolve any ambiguity and to study whether human smuggling should be included in the law.

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