Saturday, December 14

Seminar on anti-human trafficking attracts 263 participants

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SIBU: A seminar on ‘Prevention and Fight against Human Traffic king Especially Women and Children and Border Crimes’ was yesterday held at the Tanahmas Hotel here, attracting 263 participants.

It was organised by Malaysia Children Welfare Council (MCWC) and Sibu Resident’s Office and supported by the Secretariat of the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants.

Speaking at the seminar, MCWC vice president Datuk Dr Raj Karim said it was organised as a platform to create strategies to fight against this cruel crime.

“This is a global phenomena and no country is an exception. Globally, 70 per cent of the victims consist of women while 50 per cent involved children below 18 years old.

“United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) estimated that more than 30 million teenagers and children had been sexually exploited in Asia alone,” she pointed out.

She said women and children were the major victims because of the huge demand for them in the industries.

According to her, human trafficking has become a problem because of the profit it brings, which is between US$5 billion and US$6 billion a year.

“If we could reduce the demand, then there is no problem for us to stop this crime from happening,” she said.

She also said that children and women were the easy targets because most of them came from poor families, and were less educated.

“Victims were cheated with a promise of a better life and would be brought to other countries as sex slaves or forced labours,” she said.

Dr Raj also pointed out that babies were sold as adopted children without legal process, and then would be exploited as sex slaves in the pornography industry, as beggars, child labours, and for organs selling.

She said the victims would usually be physically abused, psychologically and emotionally traumatised, adding without education opportunity, health care, rest and contact to the outside world, the victims would experience abuse, diseases or even death.

“There is a case in Seremban where an Indian was trafficked with a friend and was trapped for about a year.

“When this victim attempted to run away, the abuser beat the victim up and the victim suffered broken bones all over the body. This victim was just lucky to be alive. Nobody knows what happened to the friend,” she said.

Meanwhile, Inspector Heng Kok How from Sibu Police Crime Investigation Department, in his presentation, said Malaysia was listed in the ‘watch-list’ of the annual report of US Department of State last year.

He said this was because Malaysia was a destination for sex trafficking, where there were cases of forced labour which involved women, men and children.

“Employers in Malaysia were said to have been keeping foreign workers’ passports for security reason.

“From 2008 until 2011, the nation has recorded 224 cases of sex exploitation, 87 forced labour cases, 31 baby selling cases and 26 cases of smuggling of migrants,” he said.