Thursday, March 11, 2010

International agency to setup KL office to address human trafficking

PUTRAJAYA, March 9 — The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will open an office in Malaysia to address the issue of human trafficking in the country.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Home Ministry has agreed to the step and the proposal will be discussed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet.
IOM is currently housed within the United Nation’s High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) building in Jalan Bellamy, Kuala Lumpur.
“I hope the setting up of the IOM office in Kuala Lumpur will assist KDN in our quest to address the issue of human trafficking, human smuggling and problems related to the issue of migration,” said Hishammuddin after a meeting with IOM director-general William Lacy Swing.
“In fact IOM has in principle agreed and willing to assist KDN in resolving the issue,” said Hishammuddin.
He added that IOM’s presence will also help in training agencies under the ministry.
“IOM has also proposed to train our investigation officers and prosecutors in cases involving human trafficking,” he said.
“I hope we will succeed in our attempt to eradicate human trafficking through our cooperation and the expertise of IOM,” said Hishammuddin.
IOM has offices in 127 countries with an annual budget of US$1.1 billion.
In June last year the United States put Malaysia on the list of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking, together with six African countries — Chad, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Malaysia currently has about 1.8 million foreign workers.