|Suhakam: Explain different responses to traffickers|
|Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:15am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
by SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: Suhakam wants the Government to explain the different responses to those caught for human trafficking, which ranged from an eight-year jail term to one year of detention and deportation.
“There seems to be a difference in the recent punishment of offenders,” Suhakam said.
In its Annual Report 2011, tabled in Parliament on March 26, Suhakam called on the Government to specify the rationale for the differences in the penalties for different offenders.
It said the Government had, in response to its 2010 report, replied that those “proved to have committed any trafficking offence would be charged based on the appropriate legislation, irrespective of status or position”.
> IN 2008, Malaysia’s first human trafficking offender, who had forced a female domestic worker into prostitution, got eight years in jail;
> IN 2011, a contractor convicted of trafficking an Indonesian man in 2009 also got eight years in jail; while eight Immigration officers, who were investigated and punished under the Internal Security Act 1960 although the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (A-TIP) Act was already in effect, were released after just 10 months in detention; and
> ELEVEN Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity, claimed to have been involved in human trafficking, were deported to China.
Suhakam also called on the Government to encourage the public to report suspected TIP activities.
It said the public should know, for example, the difference between human trafficking for sexual exploitation as opposed to prostitution; and be encouraged to curb the menace by knowing the correct report-lodging procedures and the legal rights accorded to whistleblowers – especially the assurance of safety and protection of identity.
As for treatment of rescued victims, Suhakam said those at one shelter had said they were satisfied with the condition of the premises, the facilities and treatment by officials but they were concerned about the slow pace in the court setting a date to record their statements.
Suhakam said several victims from Bangladesh had been at the shelter for almost 10 months, causing them further grief because their families did not have any source of income.
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