Myanmars being sold off at the border, says Santiago

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Nov 2008

AN Opposition MP highlighted the plight of Myanmar nationals who were “sold off” at the Malaysia-Thai border to human traffickers during deportation.

Charles Santiago (DAP – Klang) said that based on those who came forward to relate their ordeal, the men were sold to work in fishing trawlers and the women as prostitutes.

TV station ntv7 had also featured this in a programme called Refugees for sale.

Santiago was at a press conference with Aegile Fernandez, coordinator of the anti-trafficking of persons at Tenaganita, and Alice Nah from the Migration Working Group.

Tenaganita has published a book called The Revolving Door - Modern Day Slavery Refu- gees.

Santiago said that in a written reply on July 9, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has said that the Immigration Department had set up a special committee to investigate the “refugee for sale” cases and that no officers were involved.

Syed Hamid said the committee would continue to probe.

In another written reply on Oct 22, Syed Hamid said that an internal probe was conducted to decide if there was any need to set up an independent committee to investigate the matter but no proof was found.

Santiago said the department had conducted a poor investigation.

“We have the anti-trafficking in persons Act but this is a complete violation of human rights,” he said.

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