KUCHING, March 29 — After helping to rescue an Indonesian girl, a victim of a human trafficking syndicate this week, Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban today called the police, Immigration department and the Indonesian Consulate to form a task force to help rescue human trafficking victims.

He said the Sarawak government should provide long-term solutions to the influx of migrants who have come to work here after being promised by unscrupulous agents and employers.

“Just this week, I received a call from a distressed father looking for his 18-year-old daughter who was trapped here in Kuching,” Jaban, who is the Global Human Rights Federation of Malaysia deputy president, said in a statement.

He thanked the joint team from the Sarawak police headquarters, Kuching district police, Sungai Maong police station and Special Branch for rescuing the girl after raiding a house in the Taman Hui Sing area last night.


“I have dealt with multiple cases of human trafficking over the years but in recent times more cases have emerged.

“The agents in Indonesia tell them that they will be provided with a certain level of salary for a certain type of work with a proper work permit.

“But when they arrive, they are ‘sold’ from one agent to another,” he said, adding that some end up working in terrible conditions.


“Many of these victims end up working on construction sites, on plantations, in coffee shops and private homes,” he said.

Jaban said they are not given the same standard of care that Sarawakian employees can expect.

“There is no health and safety training or equipment provided,” he said, adding that coffeeshop workers are not expected to have food handling safety certificates, which puts the food sector at risk.

“What is worse, the agents will be paid upfront for their services,” Jaban said.

He said many victims never received any salary for up to five months as they had to pay off the agents’ fees.

He said their passports are taken away and they are forced to stay under threat of being reported to the authorities.

He also warned potential employers that there are stiff penalties for employing undocumented workers, with Section 55B(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 providing for fines of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both, for every undocumented immigrant employed.

He also warned that withholding an employee’s passport and salary is, in fact, a contravention of international standards on human trafficking.

He also urged the Sarawak Immigration Department and police to carry out a large-scale enforcement operation against agents and employers of illegal immigrants working in the state.