Wednesday, August 21

Human trafficking cases on the rise in Malaysia, says ministry deputy sec-gen


Shakib (front row, centre) with other guests at the Cyber Crime Prevention and Anti-Trafficking Awareness Briefing programme yesterday.

KUCHING: Human trafficking has become an alarming trend in Malaysia, often times involving sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Ministry of Communications and Multimedia deputy secretary-general (Policy) Shakib Shakir said the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council (Mapo) has recorded a total of 1,360 cases involving human trafficking victims placed at shelters throughout 2018.

He pointed out that out of the figure, sex exploitation cases were the highest at 776 followed by forced labour with 508 cases.

“On the other hand, when comparing human trafficking cases in 2017 and 2018, there is a decline in the number of cases from 429 to 303.

“However, cases under this category remained high, involving 5,940 people,” he told reporters after officiating the Cyber Crime Prevention and Anti-Trafficking Awareness Briefing programme at RTM Sarawak Auditorium, here yesterday.

He stressed that proactive action and commitment from various parties are needed to eradicate such crimes in the country.

Meanwhile on cyber crimes, Shakib said Sarawak recorded 31 Macau Scam cases from November 2018 to February 2019 which led to losses of RM1.4 million, based on records from the police’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID).

“The three states where the highest number of Macau Scam cases occurred are Selangor with 182 cases involving losses of more than RM10.27 million, followed by Kuala Lumpur (130 cases with more than RM13.74 million in losses) and Johor (127 cases with losses of more than RM4.3 million).”

Apart from the Macau Scam cases, he revealed that there were also 54 cases involving non-existent loans in Sarawak which caused losses of RM395,589, while loss from online purchases reached RM152,167 as a result of 27 cases recorded in the state.

Shakib pointed out that over the four-month period (November 2018 to February 2019), a total of 3,597 fraud cases were reported – the most glaring of which were non-existent loans, Macau Scams and online purchases – resulting in estimated losses of RM109.4 million.

“This shows how serious these issues need to be addressed and it is part of what the ministry is doing by involving the cooperation of the police, Bank Negara and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

“The collaboration is to bring awareness to online users on the issues and risk they face,” he said.

On the programme, Shakib said it was held as part of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia’s commitment in implementing promotional and publicity measures to raise public awareness of cyber crimes.

He said it aimed to educate the public to avoid and also protect themselves from being victims of cyber crimes, as well as to enhance the strategic and integrated collaborative network of all parties involved in enhancing public understanding towards eradicating cyber crimes.

“Several target groups have been identified as focus groups and among them are pensioners, middle-income group, career women, students and graduates,” he added.