PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has been downgraded to the Tier 2 watchlist in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for 2018.
The downgrade means that Malaysia has returned to the same position it held in 2015 and 2016.
Last year, Malaysia remained in Tier 2 of the TIP report, but was taken out of the watchlist.
According to the 2018 TIP report, Malaysia does not fully meet the minimum requirements for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts do so.
“However, the Government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous year,” it said, adding that victim protection efforts by the Government remain largely inadequate.
The report released on Friday (June 29) also claimed that complicity among local law enforcement officials has hampered anti-human trafficking efforts by the Government.
“While the authorities investigated these crimes, culpable officials typically avoided prosecution and punishment.
“No Malaysians, including suspected complicit officials, have been prosecuted for the possible trafficking crimes that were uncovered on the border of Thailand in 2015,” said the report.
This was in reference to the discovery of 139 mass graves in 28 detention camps at Wang Kelian, Perlis, in 2015.
The victims were believed to be Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar.
Countries in Tier 2 are those that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to meet those standards.
The Tier 2 watchlist is similar to Tier 2, but with three additional criteria, including the failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts or where the number of victims is significant or increasing.
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