Police mull getting NGOs to act as middleman with human trafficking victims

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim speaks during a press conference at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur March 13, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim speaks during a press conference at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur March 13, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — The police said today they will consider roping in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help investigations on human exploitation and trafficking.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the suggestion was highlighted by several NGOs because exploited victims sometime feared repercussion from criminal syndicates if they spoke to law enforcement personnel.

"They know better than us because they are civilians and victims are more willing to talk to them.

"We will definitely pursue this matter as they have offered themselves to be the middleman on behalf of the police," he said after attending an engagement session with NGOs on human trafficking at the federal police headquarters today.

About 60 people from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), the Malaysian Bar, and several human rights NGOs like Suaram and Tenaganita attended the dialogue organised together with the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant (MAPO) under the Home Ministry.

"I think this is a victory for all as those attended clearly show their interest and this session provided them an opportunity to share their concerns," he said.

He said tackling the emotional aspect of trafficked victims could be further improved on as most of these individuals were in a traumatic state when rescued or arrested.

Noor Rashid said he has also agreed to the suggestion put forward by the NGOs to have such engagements on a contingent level every three months and state deputy police chiefs will be tasked with carrying out the instructions.

"Our main focus is on the syndicates hiding behind their trafficked victims, therefore we need proper planning such as a competent taskforce to target them because it involves hours of surveillance and investigations.

"If we do not take seriously into the aspect of operations, there is a possibility that syndicates may escape prosecution and that is something we do not wish for," he said.

Federal principal assistant director for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant (D7C ATIPSOM) Senior Assistant Commissioner Maszely Minhad said forced labour in the plantations and domestic workers make up most of trafficking cases reported.

Statistics showed a total of 62 cases were reported up till February compared to 410 cases overall last year.

Maszely said previously about 80 per cent of ATIPSOM cases received were related to sexual exploitation, but forced labour without wages has increased gradually and now equals the former.

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