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Malaysia takes strong stand against forced labor and human trafficking - World Migration
May 24, 2024, 6:45 am

Malaysia takes strong stand against forced labor and human trafficking

Malaysia correspondent of WM
  • Update Time : Sunday, June 18, 2023,
  • 59 Time View


Malaysian government has taken strong stand against forced labor and human trafficking. Employers in the country who commit forced labor offenses will be severely penalized under revised labor laws.

The country’s Human Resource Minister V. Sivakumar gave this warning in a statement on June 16th of Friday. He issued a stern warning that through the amendment of the Labor Act 1955 (Amendment 2022) which will come into effect from 1st of January this year, the revised Labor Act will be punished.

Minister V. Sivakumar said, “by adding Section 90E related to forced labour, punishment will be given against the employers who commit the crime of forced labour. In addition, the role of the Labor Department will be strengthened through enhanced powers of labor inspectors to initiate more prosecutions against employers who commit such offense.”

The United States placed Malaysia in Tier 3 for two consecutive years due to forced labor and human trafficking. Malaysia was recently placed in Tier 2 on the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Watch List. The TIP report also recommended that Malaysia should focus on human trafficking cases involving civil servants and improve interagency cooperation. Soon after this, the HRD Minister gave this warning and thanked the US for this up-gradation.

Minister also said, “the establishment of a joint working group will strengthen cooperation with the US and ensure that local products are not restricted due to forced labor issues. The Government is collaborating with trade unions, employers’ federations and industry representatives to implement the National Action Plan on Forced Labour.”

Meanwhile, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution bin Ismail said in a statement on 16th of June that the government will not compromise if civil servants are involved or proven to be involved in human trafficking. Because it not only affects Malaysia’s position in the report but also has a negative impact on the national economy. Thus human trafficking must be eradicated.

Malaysia has been elevated to a Tier 2 watchlist in the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report of 2023, with US authorities saying Malaysia has not met minimum standards to eradicate trafficking but is making significant efforts. And, in its latest 2023 report, Malaysia falls among other Southeast Asian countries. For example, Brunei, Vietnam and many other African countries are on the Tier 2 watchlist.

Last year, Malaysia was in Tier 3, deemed not to be doing enough to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes. Anti-trafficking investigations have declined and there have been fewer prosecutions of government officials involved in such crimes.

From 2021, Malaysia has been in Tier 3 for two years. On the other hand, it was on the Tier 2 Watch List for the previous three years from 2018 to 2020. Although it was ranked in Tier 2 in 2017. Before that, it was again on the Tier 2 Watch List from 2015 to 2016.

Placement is based on the amount of government effort to meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has identified conditions such as excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, low wages, limited mobility and inability to leave among its indicators, the report said.


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