KOTA KINABALU, 14 April 2009: Tenaganita, a non-governmental organisation involved in protecting the rights of women and migrants, has proposed that the Sabah police set up a unit to combat human trafficking in the state.
Its director Irene Fernandez said Sabah was a potentially growing centre for human trafficking, especially for prostitution and labour.
“We need trained enforcement officers to combat people being trafficked into and out of Sabah.
“Sabah has many entry points where foreigners can come into the state and our people leave the state illegally,” she told reporters at a workshop on the role of the media in countering trafficking in persons, here today.
According to Irene, little had been done to capture the culprits in the human trafficking business, although many foreigners were charged with illegal entry.
She said that while illegal entry was a crime, the operators who brought them in were also committing an act of human trafficking.
“Malaysia needs to position itself as a country that is making efforts to counter human trafficking.
“In July 2007, an Act for human trafficking offences was passed. But there has not been much enforcement since then,” she added.
According to Irene, 119 young women were saved from brothels in the state last year, where 18 per cent of them were brought into Sabah. — Bernama