Shelters for Women and Child Survivors of Human Trafficking or in Crisis

Established in May 2006 to provide care, protection and safe repatriation to trafficked survivors


To provide care, protection and safe repatriation to women and children who are survivors of human trafficking or who are in critical distress.


Since its inception till 31 March 2011, the Shelter has housed 352 trafficked survivors from Malaysia and 9 other countries, namely, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, Burma and India. Two of these survivors were part of the 19 Malaysian girls rescued from a brothel in London and Birmingham in 2006.

Tenaganita had to close the Shelter from March 2011 as there were no further funding to sustain the shelter; as such the survivors were sent to the different shelters until May 2012.

In June 2012, Tenaganita managed to secure some funding from local faith based organization to open the shelter once again. With the increasing number of cases of domestic workers and women migrant workers in Penang, Tenaganita set up another shelter in February 2015. Cases are handled by 3 volunteers in Penang together with Women Crisis Centre and Penang Office for Human Development.

From the period of February 2014 to April 2015, , Tenaganita has housed 133 women, 5 children and 3 infants.


Tenaganita’s Shelters offer safe spaces where survivors’ current needs are fulfilled while their rights are being redressed until their safe repatriation. 

  • Tenaganita’s shelters protect and assist trafficked persons by providing:-

                 -     Temporary accommodation in a secure, warm and trusted environment

                 -      Food, clothes and hygiene products

                 -      Access to health care

                 -      Access to psychological and counselling care

                 -      Legal support and intervention

                 -      Recovery and empowerment

                 -      Informal training and information sharing regarding human and labour rights and

                        the indicators that can lead to human trafficking

                 -      Skills training and enrichment activities

  • To act as a mediator between authorities (i.e. police, immigration, legal service, medical personnel) and the trafficked person.
  • To do documentation for the purposes of doing advocacy and legal intervention.
  • To provide information to enable education, awareness raising and campaign to stop the crime of trafficking in persons.

Ongoing Challenges & Concerns

It is a challenge to secure core funding in order to keep the shelter doors open. Donors and funders see Malaysia as a developing country, therefore, the funds are often channelled  to under developed countries for other programs. As a result, much time and energy is spent by staff and volunteers alike on fundraising activities in order to keep the Shelters’  ‘Doors’ open.

Since its inception in 1991, Tenaganita’s work has encompassed a wide variety of women and gender issues, expanding to include sex workers, trafficked persons, individuals afflicted with HIV/AIDS, migrants, refugees and stateless persons.

However, one of the greatest challenges the organization faces is when women and children who are in need of Tenaganita’s services require protection and shelter.

With the help of dedicated staff and volunteers Tenaganita’s mission for the shelters is to provide an environment in which survivors of various abuses are  free to rest, recover, seek counselling and overcome the trauma they encountered while they await the completion of their legal cases, develop future plans for themselves and prepare for repatriation.

The Shelters maintain the confidentiality of each person’s record. It also practices a non-discrimination policy, and takes in people regardless of ethnic background, colour, religion, politics, nationality or social origin, property, birth or status.

Shelter Activities

The shelters rely on the staff and dedicated volunteers to provide skills training and enrichment activities. These activities add diversity and allow for unique forms of expression in a community of individuals with varying nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, the activities are designed to develop skills that can be utilized in the future outside the shelter, such as foreign language proficiency and entrepreneurial skills.

Activities provided at the shelters include:-

Cooking and baking 


Art classes

Crochet classes


Dance classes

Exercise classes

Yoga classes

English classes

Flower and vegetable gardening

Candle making

Basket weaving

Our Shelters

1) Selangor Shelter

Since its inception in 2006 until 31st March 2011, the Selangor shelter, sheltered more than 352 trafficked survivors from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, Burma and India. Tenaganita had to close the Shelter in March 2011 as there were no further funds to sustain the shelter.

In June 2012, Tenaganita managed to secure some funding from local faith based organizations which enabled the shelter to reopen.

Since June 2012, until the end of 2018 it had sheltered a further 312 women and children.

2) Penang Shelter

On November 1st 2014 with funds primarily from private donations, Tenaganita opened a shelter in Penang. By the end of 2018 it had sheltered 148 women and children of different nationalities.

In July 2017, the Shelter was recognised by Malaysia’s Home Ministry as a Shelter for trafficked survivors. As part of the service to the Home Ministry an office was opened in Penang. This office is used for meetings between Police/Immigration/Welfare Department officials and survivors, activities for the survivors, a weekly Legal Aid Clinic and general administrative work.


While the Residents are in the shelter, a team of case officers will take care of their documentation and work to repatriate them to their country of origin, even if they are lacking passports, documentation or adequate knowledge about their former employer. For those needing financial assistance, the case officers in charge will acquire sponsors to accommodate travel and other expenses.

Every new arrival is brought to a clinic or hospital to have their medical condition assessed. If the person in question is wheelchair bound or is immobile, volunteer medics may be made available to transport them, specially provided by Kechara, a partner charity organization.

We are ever grateful to have received donations from KECHARA, FOOD AID FOUNDATION, TOPAZ TRAVEL AND TOURS, WELOVEWECAREWESHARE and KAVITA, all of which are crucial in maintaining monthly food deliveries for shelter residents. We are incredibly thankful to all those who have supported our shelter and have allowed us to provide an environment which upholds self-worth, love and the ability to live and interact with others without fear. It is our hope that the experience of our residents at the shelter will be a postiive one that will allow them to return home in dignity. 


As we listen to the silenced voices of our communities, we began to identify the gaps which exist. We have different specific and dedicated programmes which are built from and developed through the needs of the communities we work with.

Connect with us

If you would like to keep up to date with our work, you may provide us your details as below

Meet With Us
12, Jalan 6/11
46000 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
+603 7770 3671 / 3691
+6012 335 0512, +6012 339 5350