KUALA LUMPUR: Law enforcement officers found to be in cahoots with human traffickers will face harsher punishment as part of the government’s plan to deter such offences, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
Hamzah, who announced the National Action Plan on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (2021-2025) (Naptip 3.0), said the government is committed to eliminating trafficking in persons in the country.
“Naptip 3.0 will strengthen current policies and processes, as well as develop new ones to address gaps in matters related to trafficking in persons in Malaysia, ” he said in his speech at the launch of Naptip 3.0 which was aired live on the Home Ministry’s Facebook on Wednesday (March 31).
Hamzah said five principles serve as a fundamental guide in the development of the action plan: government commitment and ownership; civil society participation and partnership; a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach; interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach; and systematic monitoring, evaluation and sustainability.
“Additionally, Naptip 3.0 comprises four main pillars, nine programme areas for the corresponding nine strategic goals, and numerous objectives and activities.
"It is an urgent response to specific challenges in combating human trafficking head on, ” he added.
In the pillar of prosecution and enforcement, he said the government acknowledges the need to increase the capacity for investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.
“The government is committed to introduce an increase in punishment for law enforcement officers found to be conniving with human traffickers as a stringent measure to deter the crime and adequately reflect the gravity of the offence, ” he said.
He added that progress was also being made in strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for a more consistent and effective implementation of the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Trafficking Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom).
According to Hamzah, since 2015, a total of 1,780 cases of human trafficking were recorded with 9,594 victims rescued by authorities.
Among the high-profile cases of human trafficking that shocked the nation was a case in Kuala Lipis in 2019 which involved three Indian nationals who were allegedly exploited, beaten, abused and left to starve, he said.
Hamzah said for the pillar of protection, the government acknowledges the need to protect and support victims of trafficking and reintegrate them in society.
“This is to ensure international human rights standards are adhered to when handling vulnerable people, ” he added.
Hamzah also said the government is committed to provide victims with care and support based on human rights principles to aid in their rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration.
“Naptip 3.0 outlines measures aimed to restore survivors’ dignity, reduce vulnerabilities and empower them to build productive lives, ” he added.