Earlier this month, the US State Department said that Malaysia’s predominant human trafficking crime is forced labour, after downgrading the Southeast Asian country to the worst tier in its annual report on human trafficking.
Today (19 July), a total of 829 individuals believed to be victims of human trafficking were rescued by police and given the Interim Protection Order (IPO) following 190 raids conducted nationwide from January last year to May this year.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Abd Jalil Hassan said 599 were rescued in 146 raids last year, and 230 others in 44 raids from January to May.
He stated that police arrested 243 people on suspicion of being involved in human trafficking cases last year, and another 110 this year.
Jalil also said police were working with NGOs to disseminate information and create public awareness on human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.
“In addition, various programmes including courses, in-service training, seminars and workshops are conducted yearly internally or through collaboration with other agencies or organisations,” he explained.
The programmes were aimed at enhancing knowledge, skills and expertise among enforcement staff, especially those of agencies involved in combating human trafficking.
He said 62 raids in connection with labour exploitation were also conducted last year and 25 raids up to May this year, adding that most of the victims were Indonesian, Philippine and Indian nationals.