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European Resource Center

Malaysia taken off US human trafficking watchlist

PETALING JAYA: While Malaysia remains in Tier 2 of the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, it has been taken off the watchlist.

In the 2017 report that was released on Tuesday night, Malaysia was taken off the watchlist as the Malaysian Government was deemed to have made significant efforts to eliminate trafficking.

"The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Malaysia was upgraded," said the report which is released by the US State Department annually.

It said the Government had expanded trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions.

The report added that officials had strengthened enforcement of the law prohibiting passport retention and convicted 17 employers for unauthorised retention of passports, compared with zero convictions during the previous year.

It also said that the Government had established a new interagency law enforcement taskforce to galvanise coordinated anti-trafficking operations, where 17 officers from seven agencies were assigned and trained on investigative tactics.

The Government had also approved an updated national action plan spanning 2016-2020 and allocated sufficient resources towards its implementation, the report added.

Malaysia was in the Tier 2 watchlist for the past two years after moving up from the Tier 3 blacklist in 2015.

Countries in Tier 2 are considered nations that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to meet those standards.

The Tier 2 watchlist is similar to Tier 2, but with three additional criteria, including the failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts and where the number of victims is significant or increasing.

The report said that Malaysia is considered to be a destination and, to a much lesser extent, source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and women and children subjected to sex trafficking.

Tenaganita programme director Aegile Fernandez said that Malaysia's jump was expected as the Government had made efforts to improve the situation, such as ensuring higher convictions and making more arrests.

She, however, added that the Government could do much more to handle the problem of labour trafficking especially.

The TIP report is the US government's principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.

The US State Department places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments' efforts to comply with the "minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking".


China Is Among Worst Human Trafficking Offenders, State Dept. Says

WASHINGTON — China is among the world’s worst offenders for allowing modern slavery to thrive within its borders, according to a strongly worded State Department report released Tuesday.

In its annual assessment of global efforts to end human trafficking — with an estimated 20 million people remaining in bondage around the world — the State Department dropped China to the lowest tier of its ranking this year, as it did with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

Those three nations joined 20 others already in that lowest designation, including Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

The report found that prosecutions for various forms of human trafficking — which include sex trafficking, including of children; forced and bonded labor; domestic servitude; and the unlawful use of child soldiers — dropped by nearly a quarter between 2015 and 2016, the first time the world had seen such a significant drop in recent years.

“Ending human trafficking is among the top priorities of the Trump administration,” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a key adviser, said in an event held Tuesday morning at the State Department to formally release the 17th annual report on the issue.

Ms. Trump singled out child sex trafficking. “On a personal level, as a mother, this is much more than a policy priority,” she said.

She joined Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to release the report, and he spoke with a passion rarely displayed during his early tenure in public office.

“It is our hope that the 21st century will be the last century of human trafficking,” he said.

Read more: China Is Among Worst Human Trafficking Offenders, State Dept. Says

Teen exposes human-trafficking syndicate in Vryheid

The teen says she was thrown into a room where a number of other young women were also being held against their will.

A teenage victim of human trafficking managed to escape the clutches of her captors, and alerted police to the chilling possibility of a syndicate operating in the area around Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal.

Police have not yet been able to locate the house in which the teen was being kept, and are therefore unable to free the other women being held captive, possibly to be sold into forced labour or sexual exploitation, Vryheid Herald reported.

The 18-year-old woman, who managed to get away, told police she had been abducted while walking alone near Bhekuzulu Primary School, where she was grabbed and dragged into a silver Ford Bantam by three unknown men.

The three are said to have stopped next to her and pulled her into the car without a single word. They then drove in the direction of West End Supermarket.

A jersey was pulled over her face, and they drove on for what seemed like half an hour.

They finally arrived to an area she did not recognise, and she was thrown into a room where a number of other young women were also being held against their will.

The women in the room informed her that they were in the KwaMachanca area in Mondlo.

The teen fortunately escaped captivity, and reported the incident to the Vryheid SAPS last week.

One of the men has since been arrested. The other two are still at large. It is believed that the three may be operating as a syndicate to sell the women they keep, and a human trafficking case is being investigated.


How a social media post lured twins into alleged human trafficking syndicate in Johannesburg

Mpumalanga police have launched an investigation after a 19-year-old man and his twin sister‚ originally from Kroonstad in the Free State‚ were allegedly lured into a human trafficking syndicate operating in Johannesburg.

The 19-year-old told police that he and his sister saw an advert on social media in February‚ calling on people with good mathematics skills to apply for a medical school in Johannesburg‚ said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

“After a few contacts with the school owner‚ an offer was made to arrange bus tickets for both of them from Kroonstad to Johannesburg as they could not afford to pay for themselves‚” said Hlathi.

“The man pretended to be a good Samaritan as he even deposited some money for food along the way.”

The two travelled to Johannesburg‚ where they were picked up at Park Station in a black BMW X6 and taken to a home.

“[At the house] they found other girls and boys [around] 24 in total‚” said Hlathi.

“They were suddenly injected with an unknown chemical‚ raped and assaulted‚” he added.

The 19-year-old man woke up in a Bushbuckridge hospital in Mpumalanga on Monday.

He reportedly told police that they were removed from the house on June 7.

He cannot recall what happened from there.

Police said the man had been found dumped next to a road in Bushbuckridge.

“When contacted‚ their aunt reported that she received a call from the twin sister [on Monday] telling her that she is on a flight to Lagos‚ Nigeria‚” Hlathi added.

The Hawks have been roped into the police investigation‚ which includes a case of kidnapping‚ rape and common assault.


UP police busted human trafficking gang in Lalitpur

Lucknow, Jun 13 (UNI) Lalitpur police has made a major breakthrough when they last night busted a gang involved in human trafficking and had rescued two of the minor girls, whom the accused were going to put on 'sale'.

Both the victims belong to Panipat in Haryana and were already sold to the accused arrested by the police.

Further investigations are on while efforts were made to hand over the victims to their family members.

Police reports here today said the cops of the Kotwali police station in Lalitpur were tipped that some gangs was present in Panari area of the district and were going to 'sale' two minor girls trafficked from some other place.

They immediately rushed to the spot and found over half a dozen accused having custody of two girls. They immediately tried to nab them but only held two of the criminals while the others managed to escape. The cops rescued both the victims.

The held criminals revealed their identity as Komal and Ramesh, both residents of Alapur in Jakhlon area of Lalitpur.

The two girls revealed that they families were working as labourers in Panipat district of Haryana along with some other families. They originally hails from Bihar. They were going to Bihar but at New Delhi railway station, they lost their money. The two claimed that they were lured in the name of `help’ by a lady, but she cheated them and sold them in Rs 1200 to three accused whom they identified as Antu, Brijbhan Yadav and Rakesh. Later the three brought them to Lalitpur about a week back and kept at Antu’s house in Kharja village.

After four days, one Suresh also joined them and they shifted them in the house at Alapur belonging to Ramesh. She said that finally on the fateful day, they were brought on a motorcycle to the house of Komal in Panari where they all called two persons, and were making a bargain to sell them into their hands. The girls revealed that as the cops raided the place, besides Komal and Ramesh, all other including the buyers managed to escape.

A case has been registered in this regard and now efforts were made to nab all the accused including the woman, who sold the victims to them in New Delhi.


UN calls for airlines to fight against human trafficking

Airlines have been invited to play a greater role in tackling the growing problem of human trafficking.

In a special address at the IATA AGM in Cancun, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODOC) director, division for policy analysis and public affairs, Jean-Luc Lemahie, called on airlines to help close down the $150 billion global criminal industry.

UNODOC estimates that in 2016 the transportation aspect of human trafficking generated a profit of $31 billion, matching the profitability of the airline industry.

Lemahie praised the work that was already being done by the airline sector to raise awareness of staff of potential human trafficking. For example, staff at 54 airports in the US receive training in how to spot and deal with suspected cases of modern slavery, while the US Federal Aviation Administration has also made an awareness video for flight attendants.

Positively, those efforts are already bearing some fruit. In February, Alaskan Airlines flight attendant Sheila Frederick made headlines after she noticed a female passenger in a poor way, and suspecting that she was being trafficked by a male passenger, informed the pilots. Law enforcement subsequently apprehended her trafficker, and the victim has since gone on to college.

Picking up on an earlier speech by IATA chief executive and director general Alexandre De Juniac where he called air transport "the industry of freedom", Lemahie asked for it to work together to help eradicate modern slavery.

"If the air industry is the business of freedom… let's close hands to end the business of those who take away freedom of others and offer slavery instead. Your win will be ours, my team is here to work with you."


MSU student activist wins national Newman Award

BOZEMAN - A Montana State University student who has fought to shine a light on human trafficking in Montana has won a national award for inspiring public service.

Michael Hollinger, a junior from Nikiski, Alaska, majoring in political science with minors in psychology and economics, has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

MSU President Waded Cruzado nominated Hollinger for the award based on his work as a campus leader and as an organizer of the HEART Initiative, a student group bringing attention to human trafficking in the Big Sky State.

“Michael has united students, faculty and community members from many diverse backgrounds to be catalysts for enduring change,” Cruzado wrote in Hollinger’s nomination letter for the award.

Given by Campus Compact, the award “recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.”

Hollinger is one of 237 national student leaders representing 37 states selected as a Newman Civic Fellow. The award is in recognition of his work to find solutions for challenges facing his community and for his service, community-based research and advocacy. Fellows join a network of fellows from around the country who will share ideas and tools through online networking and the honor frequently puts them in the running for other awards.

Read more: MSU student activist wins national Newman Award

INTERPOL warning on human trafficking links to the fishing industry

LYON, France – INTERPOL has issued an alert to law enforcement on human trafficking for labour exploitation in the fisheries sector across Southeast Asia.

An increase in the number of cases in recent years has highlighted the risks of human trafficking and modern slavery in fisheries supply chains, both in the region and globally. In March a court in Thailand sentenced six people to 14 years for trafficking migrant workers from Myanmar onto fishing vessels.

The INTERPOL Purple Notice, sent to all 190 member countries, describes the modus operandi often used to recruit and transport unsuspecting workers onto vessels, into processing factories or aquaculture sites, where they are then exploited and abused.

The notice outlines some of the structures and methods used by criminal networks which can involve a range of entities at various levels including agents, recruitment agencies, travel agencies, vessel owners, fish processing companies and company owners.

It also includes recommendations for law enforcement on investigating suspected cases and outlining preventative measures which can be taken. Common indicators of human trafficking and modern slavery highlighted in the notice include:

  • Absent, altered or inaccurate crew logs;
  • Crew not in possession of their identity documents or contracts;
  • The presence of child workers;
  • Poor or dangerous living and working conditions;
  • The vessel has not returned to port for an excessive period of time.

Although the notice focuses on Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, it is likely the modus operandi are employed elsewhere in the world.

“It is a combination of conditions including economic, trade, legislative and enforcement which make the fishing sector particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and modern slavery,” said David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security programme.

“This notice is aimed at not only raising awareness of the indicators of human trafficking, but also to encourage countries to provide us with information on cases which can then be analysed to identify potential links with other criminal networks and their activities,” added Mr Higgins, who highlighted Indonesia’s recent Ministerial regulation which creates a certification mechanism to prevent human rights violations in the fishing industry as an example of good practice.

The publication of the notice is part of INTERPOL Project Scale’s ongoing collaborative efforts with governmental agencies, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs in the field.

Project Scale is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the United States Government and the Pew Charitable Trusts.


Man charged with human trafficking after report of woman being assaulted

Police have charged a 38-year-old man arrested in the south Belfast area as part of an investigation into human trafficking.

He has been charged with human trafficking and sexual offences and will appear in court on Thursday.

It comes after police received a report that a woman was being assaulted outside a property on Tuesday evening.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bell, from PSNI Human Trafficking Unit, said: "Our enquiries led us to arrest a 38-year-old man on suspicion of a number of offences including human trafficking for sexual exploitation, rape and sexual assault.

"These enquiries, including a search of a property in the area are continuing as we work with partner agencies to ensure the woman receives appropriate support and assistance."


Globally, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor and trafficking

Human trafficking can mean captive labor on the seas to domestic workers trapped in private homes and children and women forced to suffer sexual violence.

Here are 10 facts about human trafficking around the world:

  1. Trafficking is considered the exploitation of men, women and children forced to work against their will through the use of violence, deception or coercion.
  2. People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as prostitution, forced labor, begging, criminality, domestic servitude, forced marriage and forced organ removal.
  3. Globally, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor and trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
  4. Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise, making an estimated $150 billion annually in illegal profits, according to the ILO.
  5. Of the victims, one quarter are children, and more than half are women and girls, according to the ILO.
  6. The largest number of forced laborers are in the Asia-Pacific region and the least are found in developed economies and the European Union, the ILO said.
  7. The face of trafficking is changing, with more children and men falling prey and more victims trapped in forced labor than a decade ago, the United Nations reported last year.
  8. In the United States, nearly 32,000 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the last decade.
  9. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime found trafficking in 106 countries and territories, with trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labor and begging most common.
  10. The United Nation's latest global goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, passed by U.N. member states in 2015, call by 2030 for the eradication of forced labor, modern slavery and human trafficking, an end to child labor and elimination of "all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation."



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