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Human trafficking: M’sia wants US Embassy to explain

PUTRAJAYA, 17 June 2009: Malaysia will seek an explanation from the United States Embassy after the country put Malaysia on its list of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the move was to identify the causes leading to the allegations and claims.

“In 2007, we were placed on level three, and at the time, a special legislation had to be drafted. The anti-human trafficking act was introduced and our status had been brought down to level two.

“Today, we were put back on three, so we will see the US Embassy to identify what really are the allegations and claims,” he told reporters here today.

He said that if in 2007 Malaysia looked at the matter proactively and reacted positively, he was sure that the same would be done to tackle the allegations.

The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2009, which analysed efforts in more than 173 countries to combat human trafficking, had blacklisted Malaysia and 16 other countries.

The report said that Malaysia became a destination and at least a source and transit country for the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and men, women and children for the purpose of forced labour.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia would use the same mechanism as it had in previous years to interact with the US Embassy to find out what had made them so concerned, and would do whatever it took to overcome the issue.

However, there were border limitations and other factors, and if the US was realistic about it, they would take that into consideration, Hishammuddin said.

“But otherwise, I feel that they are making judgment on something that is beyond of our control. That would be unfair,” he added, echoing a sentiment also expressed by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop today. — Bernama

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