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SIBU – The police have detained a manager of a massage parlour at Jalan Ramin here for alleged human trafficking involving four Filipinas.
Sibu district police chief ACP Saiful Bahari Abdullah said the 46-year-old manager was detained yesterday after a report was lodged by an officer of the Philippine Embassy who was conducting a programme for workers from the republic, on the plight of its four nationals.
“From interview conducted, the four victims, aged between 25 and 33, claimed they were asked to provide sex service to customers when the initial job offer was as masseuses,” he said.
Saiful said the manager would be in remand until Aug 1 for investigation under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. – BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is positive of attaining the Tier One by complying fully with the minimum standards to curb human trafficking crimes, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
According to the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released by the United States State Department on June 27, Malaysia has upgraded to Tier Two as a country that did not fully meet the minimum standards of the United States Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000 but made vital efforts to bring itself to compliance with the standards.
He said the Tier One target for 2020 could be achieved if Malaysia received the cooperation of source countries that posed problems to Malaysia.
“This is because the one that bears the burden of this issue is our country,” Ahmad Zahid, who is Home Minister, said at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.
He was replying to a question from Datuk Raime Unggi (Tenom-BN) relating to factors that contributed to the improvement in Malaysia’s position on the United States State Department report on the US TIP Report as well as Malaysia’s action in maintaining the momentum of this achievement.
The US TIP Report 2017 involves assessing 187 countries on efforts to fight against human trafficking crimes.
PUTRAJAYA – A total of 254 cases of human trafficking were taken to court up to June with 67 convictions obtained, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said of the total convictions, 43 involved human trafficking offences while 24 other offences had human trafficking elements.
“For the period January up to May 2017, the number of arrests recorded was 363,” he said in a statement after chairing the Highest-Level Committee (HLC) on Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Human Smuggling and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (MAPO) at Perdana Putra, here today.
The meeting was also attended by the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdir.
At the meeting, Ahmad Zahid handed over a fund totaling RM1.38 million to the Good Shepherd Welfare Centre and Tenaganita Sdn. Bhd. as the pioneer project for the management of human trafficking victims.
Ahmad Zahid said the government had declared three protection homes for victims of human trafficking in Sabah, Selangor and Penang in implementing the collaboration between the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“The government sees the involvement of NGOs in the management of human trafficking victims as a positive development and should be continued to ensure the welfare of victims could continue to be preserved and the responsibility could be shared together,” he said, adding that it was in line with the national commitment to implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007 which came into effect fully in November 2015.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the meeting focused on the achievement of the country in the Annual Report of the State Department of the United States on human trafficking and improvement measures for evaluation for the next year of assessment.
According to the report by the US State Department issued on June 27, Malaysia was at Level 2, which was better than the Level 2 (Observation) in 2016.
Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia was on Level 2 (Observation) on eight occasions as it did not show a significant rise in efforts to check human trafficking crimes compared to the previous years.
However, the country’s position rose to Level 2 this year due to the implementation of significant efforts to comply with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and Trafficking Victim Protection Act 2000 (TVPA), he said.
“This was the result of the strong commitment and consistent efforts demonstrated by members of the HLC MAPO in boosting investigation, prosecution and conviction on human trafficking cases including several improvements in the aspect of victim protection,” he said.
He said Malaysia was confident of maintaining the position in future evaluations, with the cooperation of various parties including the United States to improve prevention, prosecution and protection of victims of human trafficking.
Meanwhile, he said the meeting also took note on the awareness of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to be held on July 30 every year as contained in the United Nations (UN) resolution in 2013.
Ahmad Zahid said the celebration aimed to raise public awareness on human trafficking crimes and protection of victims.
In this context, he said a cooperation programme between the government and the NGOs would be held on July 30 at the Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park.
The competition to develop a prototype application on human trafficking and the introduction of the complaint line on human trafficking with the cooperation of the 1Malaysia Call Centre (1MOCC) which is 03-8000 8000 is among the programmes that will be held on that day, he added. – BERNAMA
JOHOR BAHRU – Police arrested two men and a woman here yesterday and rescued five foreign women believed to be victims of human trafficking in two raids, on an old folks home and the house of an agent supplying foreign workers, according to police.
Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the ‘Ops Lebaran’ raids were conducted at about 6.30 pm by three officers and 12 personnel of the department.
“The arrested trio were two Malaysian men in their 60s, one the manager of the old folks home and the other the caretaker of the house of the supplier of foreign workers, and an Indonesian woman domestic helper,” he said in a statement here today.
Kamarul Zaman said all the women who were rescued were from Indonesia and aged between 28 and 60.
He said a preliminary investigation found that the women were exploited by their employers who had made them work for between two months and 10 years without any wages. – BERNAMA
TELUK INTAN – A septuagenarian was charged in the Sessions Court here today with four counts of trafficking in four foreign women for sexual exploitation last August.
Lie Haa, 73, from Kampung Pahang, Tapah claimed trial to committing the offences involving three Vietnamese women and a woman from China aged between 24 and 44, at C2, Kampung Pahang around 11pm on Aug 1.
The charges framed under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM) 2007, carries up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine, on conviction.
The accused also claimed trial to four alternative charges of living off the earnings of the four alleged prostitutes, at the same place, time and date.
The charges are framed under Section 372A of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years with whipping, and liable to fine on conviction.
Judge Norita Mohd Ardani set RM20,000 as bail and Jan 19 for remention.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Nurul Azriah Zaid while the accused was unrepresented. – BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR: The wife of a popular actor was among 28 immigration department personnel detained for alleged involvement in a human trafficking syndicate, said deputy inspector-general of police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim.
He said the suspects including the 33-year-old woman were nabbed in a special operation conducted in Putrajaya last Tuesday.
“They are suspected of falsifying documents to speed up entry of foreigners into the country without going through proper procedures,” he said when contacted on Thursday.
Noor Rashid said police did not rule out the possibility that senior immigration officers were also involved in the case.
He said further investigations were being conducted to identify other individuals who might be involved.
The suspects were being detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) 1959. – Bernama
By Nik Nurfaqih Nik Wil
KUALA LUMPUR: A Jordanian suspected to be the kingpin of a human trafficking syndicate is believed to have used Malaysia many times as a transit for smuggling Indonesian women as ‘modern slaves’ to Middle Eastern countries.
He has been arrested three times but never charged with human trafficking although 126 women whom he was believed to have brought from Indonesia were found locked up in an apartment here while their visas were being processed.
Instead he was only charged with wrongful confinement under Section 342 of Penal Code, holding passports without lawful authority under Section 12(1)(f) of Passport Act, and allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the premise that he had interest to supervise under Section 55E of Immigration Act.
He was jailed 53 days for the first charge and fined RM10,000. For the second and third charges, he was fined a total of RM12,000.
In contrast, an offender under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act can be jailed between three and 20 years and fined up to RM1 million.
Why was the man known as Mario to some of his victims not charged under the ATIPSOM Act?
“He has been very clever. He was careful to avoid elements of the ATIPSOM Act,” said Indonesian embassy counsellor of consular affairs Dino Nurwahyudin.
“The elements of forced labour and deception for the purpose of exploitation were not present, or could not be proven, in his case.”
The key of the apartment where the women were locked up was held by his wife who has since been arrested in Indonesia, with the police getting information from some of the victims.
“Thus, the authorities could not connect him with the women or the apartment,” said Dino.
Police rescued 25 women from the apartment in June 2013, twenty-one in January 2014, fifty-three in November 2014 and twenty-seven in August 2015. All of them have been deported to Indonesia.
Police believed that the Jordanian left the country after serving his sentence, but Dino said the man could have his henchmen still working here.
“We are working closely with the Malaysian police to put a stop to their activities,” Dino said.
He also said that Indonesian missions in the Middle East had reported that many smuggled women were being exploited after they were promised well-paying jobs.
We are doing our best to bring them home,” he added.
POKOK SENA – The remains of 14 more victims of human trafficking found at Wang Kelian in Perlis last May were buried today.
The Rohingyas, all men, were buried at 10am at the Muslim cemetery in Kampung Tualang here.
Kedah Islamic Religious Council chief funeral coordinator for the remains of the Rohingyas, Sheikh Fakhrurazzi Yub said the victims were buried in a single grave in an hour-long ceremony.
“Pathological investigations on the remains were carried out at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital here.
“The burial of another batch of skeletal remains, expected to be the last, will be carried out next month,” he told reporters at the cemetery.
The burial of the 14 remains was carried out by policemen, employees of the Islamic Religious Department and the Public Works Department, with the assistance of residents in the vicinity of the cemetery.
Sheikh Fakhrurazzi said the seventh phase of the funeral today, brings the total remains of human trafficking victims buried so far to 153.
The graves found in Wang Kelian were believed to be that of ethnic Rohingyas. – BERNAMA
JOHOR BAHARU – A Filipino woman pleaded not guilty to trafficking a girl from Sabah from 2011 to 2013 in the Magistrate’s Court here Sunday.
Estrellita Tabanao Padilla, 55, who is a permanent resident here, was charged jointly with Jasrin Yakin, 28, for trafficking the then 12-year-old child by forced labour.
She was accused of committing the offence at Jalan Jayamas 9, Taman Jaya Mas, here since Jan 15, 2011 until May 17, 2013.
The accused was charged under Section 14 of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and the Anti Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and maximum fine of RM500,000 upon conviction.
She was arrested in Pasir Mas, Kelantan last Jan 5.
Judge Meor Sulaiman Ahmad Tarmizi fixed Feb 15 for a re-mention of the case.
Deputy Public Prosecutor appeared for the prosecution while the accused was unrepresented. – BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not sit idly while the crime of trafficking in persons continues to undermine efforts at enforcing human rights and respect for the rule of law, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
He said Malaysia stood committed with its peers in the fight against trafficking in persons and would continue to support initiatives that promote an end to this crime.
“The urgent call is now for governments to realise and admit that present tools and controls over global human trafficking, if any at all, are insufficient,” he said.
He said this when officiating at the ASEAN and Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) Workshop: Identifying Human Trafficking Victims and Relevant Types of Exploitation here today.
On the same note, he said every nations facing the human trafficking issue must acknowledge that identification and recognition of victims of trafficking was not easy.
“We need to think carefully about what is going wrong. Why are so few people being identified when we know that many millions of people are enslaved in all regions in the world,” he said.
He said it was paramount to be able to identify victims of trafficking just as it was important to have different response and assessment tools which could be useful in the various situations faced in the war against trafficking in persons.
Nevertheless, Nur Jazlan said Malaysia was proud to stand side by side with those nations that had recognised the urgent need to stop this perverse trend and move forward in building a legal, enforceable and effective framework to stop the global epidemic.
“Malaysia is therefore proud to be an active partner in the effort to explore more effective methods in enhancing existing enforcement protocols in the identification and recognition of victims of trafficking,” he added.
The two-day workshop which began today were attended by 75 participants from various government and enforcement agencies from ASEAN countries.
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