‘Fine-tune system to curb human trafficking’

‘Fine-tune system to curb human trafficking’

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), wants police to put in place a better screening and identification system to spot victims of human trafficking at ‘trafficking hotspots’.

“Police officers have to be trained to ask proper questions. Often, girls caught are treated as offenders rather than victims at immigration depots, detention centres and prisons,” said Suhakam commissioner Raj Abdul Karim.

 

She was speaking at press conference after a two-day workshop for the development for the Asean forum protocol against the trafficking of women and children in Kuala Lumpur.

 

 “There is clearly lack of understanding of the Anti Trafficking in Human Persons Act 2007 amongst enforcement and government agencies. We want a quick beefing up of the capacity of enforcement officers and their understanding of the act,” she said.

Another commissioner Chiam Heng Keng (left) said that amendments to the act is currently ongoing to plug loopholes to allow for better prosecution of offenders.

“The act is pretty new in Malaysia. However, having it is one thing, implementing and enforcing it is another,” said Chiam.

“We want issues surrounding the act to be detailed. We will discuss this with the AG and the Malaysian Human Trafficking Council.

“For instance, the act should be ammended to allow NGOs to set up shelters homes for the victims,” said Raj.
There must be mutual respect

Anushka Prashalini Chandra, a lawyer, urged frontline officers and NGOs to have more grassroot level discussions and “come to a common ground” to facilitate discussions and solutions.

She added that currently, lack of respect, transparency, coordination, partnership, confidentiality, communication and professionalism between ministries and NGOs is frustrating both parties.

 

 “Policies should be open to comment (transparency) and data should be acessible. Cut all bureaucracy and red tape,” said Anushka (right), a member of the Bar Council Human Rights Committee.

She added that said that face-to-face interaction between the ministries and NGOs is imperative.

“It is important to appoint a person in charge, someone whom we can deal with.

“Exchange programmes should be held to enchance communication and partnership between NGOs and ministries,” she said.

“There must be more accountability from superiors at government departments, follow-ups and monitoring of cases to ensure better information and understanding among the parties.

Echoing Anushka’s view, Chiam urged all parties, especially the immigration and police, to ensure two-way communication exists.

“Sometimes, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing,” she said.

Malaysiakini news by Yip Ai Tsin

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