Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan

PUTRAJAYA: The concrete steps taken by the government which resulted in an upgrade from Tier Two Watch List to Tier Two in the latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report recently is just the beginning of a series of measures to protect human rights and safeguard the rights of human trafficking victims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan is a statement today, said, the Malaysian government would continue its efforts to protect human rights and improve its position in future TIP reports.

“The upgrading by the United States State Department in its latest TIP report is a recognition on the commitment of the government and the effective concerted effort it has taken in protecting the human rights of people including foreigners who are subject to exploitation and oppression,” he said.

He said measures had been taken through the implementation of the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC) in the recruitment and employment of foreign workers to ensure that the rights of foreign workers to universally acceptable terms of employment were adhered to by their employers.

Low said a new approach which the government had adopted was to work in close partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that had the capacity to give the care support to victims.

“Via this partnership, the government will provide the resources to these recognised NGOs to build long term capacity and collaborate with government agencies to provide measurable, sustainable solutions to all stakeholders.

“These efforts will be complemented by the EAIC (Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission ) which will conduct periodical independent inspections of the conditions of detention centres and shelters,” he said, adding that any abuses reported would also be investigated independently by the EAIC.

Malaysia has been upgraded to Tier Two in the United States Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 issued by the US State Department on June 27.

The annual report assesses 187 countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking through three key components, namely prosecution, protection and prevention.

The tier two placement is Malaysia’s best performance so far since 2007 Low said the series of measures being planned and implemented by the government aimed to ensure more effective enforcement, prevention and improvement in the care support given to the victims of human trafficking.

“Malaysian government will continue to protect human rights and safeguard the rights of human trafficking victims,” he added.

Low said it was important to take recognition that human trafficking would continue to occur when abject poverty and lack of employment opportunity in the source countries as well as gross violation of human rights of these victims in their own countries existed.

“It is erroneous to place blame solely on Malaysia. As long as Malaysia continues to enjoy economic growth each year and create ample jobs, Malaysia will be a strong magnet for people from lesser developed nations, especially those that are experiencing civil disorder and slow or lack of economic progress,” he said.

Low said not all foreign labour could be considered as being trafficked as most came voluntarily in search of better opportunities. “However some entered Malaysia illegally and therefore are subject to the due process of detention and deportation,” he added. - Bernama

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