Gerakan calls on coordinated efforts to step up fight against human trafficking Cheah Soon Hai: National strategy needed to fight human trafficking

Press statement by

Gerakan Deputy President

Dato Dr. Cheah Soon Hai

27 May 2015

Gerakan Deputy President Dato Dr. Cheah Soon Hai expressed shock and sadness over the recent discovery of 139 suspected graves and abandoned jungle camps likely used by human traffickers in Wang Kelian according to Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. Cheah said the heinous crime merits our utmost moral condemnation while also called for strong and effective countermeasures against human trafficking.

It is a very sad scene, we Gerakan condemn the cruelty being exercised against the innocent victims of human trafficking. We are enraged and saddened by the discovery of graves and camps on Malaysian soil allegedly linked to people smuggling. The tragedy sends a deafening message to us that we have not done enough to fight human trafficking and offer adequate protection to victims, said Cheah

Cheah believed the discoveries exposed hidden networks of jungle camps run by human traffickers for years to hold many victims captive while extorting ransom, engaging in slavery or forced labour. He pointed out that there is ample evidence of forced labour and sex trafficking in Malaysia and the seriousness of the situation is being overlooked by authorities.

Cheah noted with concern that Malaysia has continued to fare poorly in international human trafficking rankings with clear indication to authorities lack of effort in this regard. It was reported that the government has initiated 89 new investigations of trafficking cases in 2013, a decrease from 190 investigations in 2012 with only a handful of them were successfully convicted. He opined that the numbers are disproportionate in reflecting the actual gravity of human trafficking in Malaysia and called for serious attention from authorities.

Cheah asserted that the decreased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, reporting fewer investigations and convictions related to human trafficking in recent years is unacceptable. He called for National Anti-Trafficking and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (MAPO) to establish a national strategy to fight human trafficking with emphasis on important topics such as working and monitoring framework, prevention, support and protection of victims as well as criminal proceeding.

Authorities must step up law enforcement actions and increase efforts to prosecute and convict perpetrators of human trafficking while also improve victim protection regime at the same time. I think the dreadful revelation warrants serious discussion in Parliament as the cruelty and inhumane activities must be stopped,stressed Cheah





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