Press Releases

Human trafficking rooted in our policies

24 Mar 2016

In response to this article , Tenaganita strongly believes that the Home Ministry must be held accountable and responsible for making Malaysia the hub of destination for human trafficking.

The home minister cannot place the blame on source countries without looking deeply and cogitating into the elements of the pull factors that we have created in Malaysia. In fact, this is the outcome and will continue to be so, as long as there is a mindset of profit before people within the government, state and business industries, poor governance, a lack of political will to collectively, systematically and holistically combat modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The incidences of human trafficking in the country are extremely high, with very little identification of victims of human trafficking and investigations being weak. The rights of the victims or survivors of human trafficking are still unrecognised. The legal framework and policies for migrant workers continue to place them in highly exploitative conditions that result in human trafficking.

Further to that, there is certainly a great demand in the market for cheap labour. In a country where there is no comprehensive policy for migration, employers will use every means to hire undocumented migrants and refugees. Therefore business industries, too, must be held accountable for the purchasing of human beings as commodities for the means of making profit

We have to seriously address why this form of human trafficking is blatantly happening at our border, at our own doorstep?

We know that is rooted in our policies and the non-existence of a comprehensive policy that has corruption embedded in our systems and governance. In fact, the non-recognition of refugees, and non-existence of a comprehensive policy for recruitment, placement and employment of migrants have become an opportunity for authorities and human traffickers for making money. As such, how can we even combat human trafficking in Malaysia?

As a destination and host country to millions of migrants and refugees, we are responsible to put in place clear policies and monitoring mechanisms with transparency and accountability.

Therefore, we would like to remind the Home Ministry, especially the home minister, to begin the change in our backyard and ensure the root causes of human trafficking in the country are addressed, so we are able to fight this heinous crime against humanity without placing any blame on source countries.

GLORENE A DAS is Tenaganita executive director.

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