Malaysia is committed to implementing the aspects outlined in the United States Department of State's (US DOS) Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report to move out of the Tier 2 watchlist, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
He said that Malaysia's success of being on the Tier 2 watchlist indicated that some aspects outlined by US DOS previously had been complied with.
"What we want to see is our seriousness in detecting, arresting, investigating, prosecuting and proving the cases (of parties involved in trafficking activities and forced labor practices).
"I am confident that we are moving on the right track. The observations in this international report are very precise.
"Our target is to get off the (Tier 2) watchlist, the idea is to reach Tier 1," he told the media after attending the 2023 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons celebration here today.
Saifuddin Nasution said the police investigation on rare earth element (REE) exploration in Sik, Kedah proved that the government was serious in dealing with the issue of human trafficking and forced labor practices in the country.
He said a total of 52 suspects were arrested and further investigation confirmed the existence of forced labour practices in the case.
"There were some detainees from Nepal and Myanmar, who when investigated by the police, were discovered to be working without wages.
"There are also workers brought in through various entry points illegally without documents. When they’re without documentation they can be told to do anything. They were promised a wage of between RM80 and RM100 per day (but) they were not paid," he said.
According to Saifuddin Nasution, there are even suspects being investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or SOSMA.
In February, the media reported that 52 men were arrested over their alleged involvement in illegal REE exploration activities in the Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve.
At the ceremony today, Saifuddin Nasution announced financial assistance of RM850,000 for two migrant shelters managed by non-governmental organisations Global Shephard Bhd and Tenaganita Sdn Bhd.
He also launched an initiative to seek pledges from employers to deal with human trafficking and forced labour, as well as the Check-in Assistance, Resource and Empowerment Kit or CARE-Kit in eight languages that would serve as a reference for victims of human trafficking placed in shelters.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency