KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has slipped to Tier 2- Watch List in the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report produced by the US State Department, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).
The Home Minister said in the 2017 TIP report, Malaysia was upgraded to Tier 2 from the Tier 2 Watch List.
“Between 2006 and 2018, Malaysia was classified as Tier 2 Watch List nine times.
“The latest report stated that Malaysia failed to fully meet the minimum standards in curbing human trafficking,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
The Pakatan Harapan government is aware of the latest TIP report and it is also fully committed towards curbing human trafficking, Muhyiddin added.
Among the efforts that will be made are increasing prevention efforts including fostering better cooperation with NGOs and industry players and increasing coordinated enforcement operations.
“We will also continue to make significant improvements in labour laws, including payments of foreign workers’ levy by employers starting from January (this year) and amendments to the Private Employment Agency Act, which enables an increased penalty on any agency which fails to adhere to labour laws,” he said.
“We will also consider amending the Anti-Human Trafficking Act and Anti-Smuggling Act 2007, which will focus on protection for human trafficking victims and prevention by increasing sentences for offenders,” he said.
He added improvements will also be made on implementation of regulations allowing victims of human trafficking to roam free and work.
“The management of foreign workers will be monitored holistically to ensure the welfare and rights of workers, especially that of foreign workers, are protected,” he said.
The Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (Mapo), spearheaded by Home Ministry, have implemented continuous improvements towards curbing human trafficking based on recommendations of TIP report.
The State Department places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”.
Countries in Tier 1 are whose governments fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.
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 increase
Tier 3 are countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
Meanwhile Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said more must be done on human trafficking to improve country’s ranking.
“The government has to increase efforts compared to the previous reporting period, which led to the downgrading.
“There must be strong political will to fight against human trafficking and the government must demonstrate increasing efforts by expanding trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions,” he said in a statement.
He added stricter requirements are needed for recruiting new counsellors able to complete required mental health evaluations, risk-averse and paternalistic attitudes towards victims and lack of victim interest in available work opportunities resulted in a very low number of victims being granted the right to work or to move freely.