Human trafficking: Malaysia can achieve Tier One status, says Zahid

zahid-hamidi-tip-1KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is positive of attaining Tier One status by fully complying with the minimum standards to curb human trafficking crimes, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to the United States’ annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released by the US State Department on June 27, Malaysia has been upgraded to Tier Two as a country that does not fully meet the minimum standards of the US Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000 but had made vital efforts to bring itself into compliance with the standards.

Zahid 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,” Zahid, who is home minister, said at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.

He was replying to a question from Raime Unggi (Tenom-BN) on the factors that contributed to the improvement in Malaysia’s position in the report as well as Malaysia’s actions in maintaining the momentum of this achievement.

The US TIP Report 2017 assessed 187 countries on their efforts to fight human trafficking crimes.

Zahid said Malaysia was now at Tier Two partly because of its implementation of investigations, its convictions in human trafficking cases as well as its participation at high level committee meetings.

The government also cooperated with non-governmental organisations to improve protection for victims of trafficking besides updating existing regulations, he said.

“This was followed by several follow-up actions, especially when we forged cooperation with source countries that thrust the problem to us. It is unfair that a country is placed on Tier One but that country is the source country to us,” he said.

Zahid also congratulated the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (Mapo), the Royal Malaysia Police and various other parties for assisting in achieving that success.

Replying to Raime on the number of NGOs involved in assisting the victims of human trafficking, Zahid said so far two NGOs were working together and receiving government allocations.

“We encourage other NGOs to cooperate with these existing NGOs to provide shelter and job opportunities to human trafficking victims. Several companies from the United States are even offering jobs to the victims,” he said.

Zahid said the government also encouraged local companies to provide jobs to victims of human trafficking.