Couple face multiple charges of human trafficking for forced labour

Muslim-Ab-Karim-Zaleha-courtKUANTAN: A married couple was charged in the Sessions Court here today with four counts of human trafficking for exploitation involving four teenage boys, just three days after appearing in the Ipoh Sessions Court for a similar offence.

They will appear in two more courts later this week on similar charges.

According to a Bernama report, Muslim Ab Karim, 56, and his wife, Zaleha Mohamad, 54, pleaded not guilty to the charges before judge Siti Aminah Ghazali at the court here today.

The prosecution, led by DPP Jaizah Jaafar Sidek, asked the court to deny the couple bail because of other pending charges against them.

Jaizah said they would be charged at the Raub Sessions Court tomorrow and at the Kota Baru Sessions Court on Sunday for similar offences.

The duo had been charged with 12 counts of the same offence at the Ipoh Sessions Court on May 8.

On the first count read in court today, the couple was accused of trafficking a 19-year-old boy for exploitation as forced labour at about 11pm on Nov 9 last year at Restoran Kemaman Kopitiam.

On the second, third and fourth counts, Muslim and Zaleha were charged with trafficking in three boys, aged from 15 to 17, for exploitation as forced labour at a Petronas petrol station in Tanjung Lumpur here at 11.50pm on the same day.

The charges are framed under Section 12 and 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and carry a jail term up to 20 years and fine, if found guilty.

Muslim and Zaleha, who are chairman and treasurer, respectively, of Pusat Latihan Amal Bestari, Yan, Kedah, were unrepresented.

The court set June 19 for mention.