KUALA LUMPUR: Since the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (MAPO) was activated by the Home Ministry in February 2008, authorities have rescued 2,114 people from 20 countries from human trafficking syndicates.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 12:15:00
Of the total, 799 were identified as "actual" victims subjected to abuse, sexual exploitation and forced labour, and these were mostly women.
In addition to saving foreigners trafficked into Malaysia, authorities also arrested 492 locals and foreigners for their involvement in human trafficking.
"Of the 799 deemed actual victims, 217 were sexually exploited or bound for the sex trade," MAPO secretary general Nasirrahman Saad Khiruddin said at a seminar on human trade and smuggling of migrants at Citrus Hotel yesterday.
"Of the 492 arrested for human trafficking, 347 were charged in court, some under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007."
Of those rescued, the mostaffected migrants were from Indonesia with 551, followed by Sri Lanka (327), China (320), the Philippines (222) and Vietnam (154). Nasirrahman said the syndicates usually targetted those from poor families with minimal education and low opportunities for income.
"The victims come from backward communities or rural areas. When the syndicates go there and offer jobs opportunities to the girls and young women, their families would accept the offer. To further convince the families, the syndicates usually paid the families. This approach makes it hard for the poor families to turn them down," he said.
"Once brought here, the victims are forced to work in entertainment outlets, spas, massage parlours and karaoke outlets. In some cases, the women, including teenagers, are forced to become mail-order brides."
On why human trafficking syndicates target Asian women, Nasirrahman said syndicates believed their customers find Asian women more desirable.
"Asian women are particularly susceptible due to their 'fragile' nature, and are usually earmarked for the flesh trade. The women who fetch the highest prices are virgins, especially those below 21," said Nasirrahman.
He urged the public with information on victims of human trafficking to call 999 or the MAPO secretariat at 03-88863149.
What MAPO is aboutUNDER the provisions of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007, the Home Ministry activated the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (MAPO) on Feb 28, 2008. MAPO is chaired by Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam. Its main responsibilities are to co-ordinate the implementation of the Act and formulate policies and programmes to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
MAPO is assisted by five committees, each carrying out tasks assigned to them according to their respective
jurisdiction. The five committees are as follows:
● Legislation Committee, headed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers;
● Enforcement Committee, headed by the Royal Malaysian Police;
● Victim Protection and Rehabilitation Committee, headed by the Women, Family and Community
● Media and Publicity committee, headed by the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and;
● Special Committee to Study the Issues of Labour Trafficking, headed by the Human Resources Ministry.