PUTRAJAYA: Do not be afraid, we are here to help – this is the Deputy Prime Minister’s message to all victims of student trafficking.
Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Affairs Minister, was speaking exclusively to R.AGE in response to its Student/Trafficked video series, which revealed how foreign students were being trafficked into Malaysia through bogus colleges and agents.
“I will make sure this issue is addressed by the Government. Please come forward. Don’t be scared. We are here to assist you,” said Dr Ahmad Zahid.
He added that directives have been issued to Immigration Department officers to receive reports from trafficking victims, while Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali has also pledged to investigate their cases.
“We have been working with the Bangladeshi Government to avoid victimising these people because they’ve had to sell their houses, their land, or even take loans to come here,” he said.
“We have also cracked down on the agents. At least 3,600 of these so-called ‘agents’ have been nabbed in the past year alone.”
Dr Ahmad Zahid also revealed that he had discussed the issue with Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, and they would work together to curb the problem.
“Victims can also visit the Higher Education Ministry, which has a special department looking into this,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said he watched the first episode of Student/Trafficked released last Monday and praised the online reporting system set up by R.AGE.
“I think we also need to identify which university they should be enrolled in, and I reckon we should give some token contribution to genuine students (who want to complete their studies).
“I think the effort taken by you and the NGOs must be appreciated,” he said.
To find out more about R.AGE’s Student/Trafficked project, or to report a student trafficking case, go to rage.com.my/trafficked.