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Tuesday, 18 July 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Zahid: Anti-human trafficking efforts bear fruit

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia can maintain its position on Tier 2 of the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report with improvements made against human trafficking, prosecuting offenders and the protection of human-trafficking victims.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said significant improvements in these areas had helped boost the country’s standing after being put on the Watch List eight times.

When Malaysia was on Tier 3, there was a lack of awareness on the issue of human trafficking, he said.

“One of the areas that has helped boost our standing is the good progress in providing protection to the victims.

“We have been working closely with NGOs in managing affected individuals and involving them proved to be a good move.

“The Government will carry on with this collaboration because we want the welfare of individuals caught in such predicament be taken care of,” he said after chairing the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council high-level committee meeting.

The committee involves seven ministries and 10 government departments and agencies.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said complying with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and Trafficking Victim Protection Act 2000 helped to curb human smuggling and trafficking.

The TIP report, released by the US State Department in June, stated that Malaysia has been taken off the Watch List because the Government had put in greater efforts to eliminate trafficking.

As of June, 252 cases of human trafficking were taken to court, with 67 convictions. For the first five months of this year, authorities made 363 arrests.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said to support the collaboration with NGOs, the Government provided funds amounting to RM1.38mil to Good Shepherd welfare centre and Tenaganita Sdn Bhd to help manage and provide shelter to victims.