PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has been given a “to-do” list containing 15 points for it to improve its standing in the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, including to check on the role and involvement of civil servants in human trafficking.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) said the report also recommended better identification of victims of human trafficking, especially among the vulnerable groups, domestic workers and employees in the oil palm and the rubber gloves sectors.
“The report suggests that Malaysia gives greater emphasis on human trafficking incidents involving civil servants,” he told reporters on Friday (June 16).
Malaysia has moved out of the lowest tier in the US State Department’s annual TIP Report 2023.
The report showed that Malaysia was now back on the Tier 2-Watch List category, where it had been placed from 2018 to 2020.
Tier 2-Watch List was for countries whose governments do not fully comply with the US’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Malaysia was in Tier 2 of the US TIP Report 2017, Tier 2-Watch List from 2018 to 2020, and Tier 3 in 2021 and 2022.
To a question, Saifuddin said this was not the first time the report had suggested improvement concerning the role of civil servants in human trafficking, adding the same issue was raised last year.
He said civil servants’ role in human trafficking was in relation to compliance, laws and enforcement.
“We will look at how we can improve in all aspects, not just civil servants, but all the other points mentioned in the report,” he said.
Saifuddin said among significant achievements which had moved Malaysia to the upper tier were an increase in the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions as well as providing protection and support to victims of human trafficking.
“I have informed the Cabinet on the report and we have until March 31 next year to make further improvements.
“The impact on us being on the tier 2 watch list is significant, especially to the economy,” he said.
– The Star