The pay’s great: How human trafficking syndicates lure victims

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Dec 2019

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): They are promised employment with high pay but in reality they will be confined and lured into forced labour and prostitution.

This tactic is not new to syndicates that specialise in trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants when they seek victims, especially those living in poverty because people who are desperate to change their fortunes are more easily manipulated and victimised.

According to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Unit of the Bukit Aman CID (Criminal Investigation Department), the most numerous nationals rescued this year were the Vietnamese with 384 people, followed by Indonesians (234), Thais (227), Bangladeshis (71), Chinese (60), and other those of other countries (123).

Malaysians were also among the victims of human trafficking syndicates, with 54 rescued this year.

Bukit Aman Atipsom D3 assistant principal director Senior Asst Comm Fadil Marsus (pic) said when it came to migrants, some were smuggled into the country and some recruited in their home countries and brought in using social visit passes.

Most of the victims of human trafficking ranged in age from 16 to their 30s.

“This group is considered ‘vulnerable’ – they have always been the target of syndicates.

“Some come legally and voluntarily, but before they enter this country, the syndicate will approach them and promise employment opportunities with lucrative salaries, ” he told Bernama.

SAC Fadil said the modus operandi of these syndicates was to recruit foreigners in their home countries; then the local syndicate would smuggle them in for a fee.

“There were victims who were brought in using social visit passes, then offered jobs but ended up being exploited – the victims became forced labourers and their wages are taken to pay for the transportation cost, ” he added.

There were also cases where victims were locked up together before being forced to do their work.

“Male foreigners are often exploited into forced labour, while women are forced into sex slavery. Their salaries will be kept and they would not be allowed to contact their families at home, ” he said.

From January to November this year, the Atipsom Unit investigated 264 cases involving trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, compared with 281 cases last year, said SAC Fadil.

“A total of 194 cases this year involved sexual exploitation, forced labour (67) and sale of infants (three).

"We detained 353 employers and syndicate members as well as rescued 1,153 victims comprising 1,123 women and 30 men, ” he added.

SAC Fadil said those found guilty of smuggling migrants or exploiting locals or foreigners could face a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a fine. – Bernama

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