Human Trafficking Essay In Malaysia Kelong

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Malaysia is setting up a special court to tackle rising numbers of human trafficking cases, in a move welcomed by campaigners who said it would help deliver justice to victims.

The Southeast Asian nation relies heavily on foreign domestic workers as well as laborers from countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal for jobs shunned by locals including work on plantations and in construction.

It has nearly two million registered migrant workers, according to government data, but rights groups say there are also many others who work in the country without permits.

But advocacy groups say many of the workers are victims of human trafficking and debt bondage, who had to fork out huge sums to pay recruiters in return for jobs that paid much less than the ones they were promised.

Under a pilot project, the special court is expected to be set up as early as May in the central state of Selangor, with a dedicated judge to hear cases, before it is gradually rolled out in other parts of the country.

Malaysia’s deputy premier Zahid Hamidi said authorities hoped the court would help expedite human trafficking cases and boost public awareness of the crime, state media Bernama quoted him as saying on Saturday.

Kuala Lumpur-based group Tenaganita, which works with refugees and migrant workers, welcomed the project, saying trafficking victims have often reluctant to fight their case in court due to a lengthy legal process and a lack of support.

“Most of the trafficking victims are foreigners, they don’t want to wait for a long time to testify in court,” its director Aegile Fernandez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“The longer you keep them, the more they are traumatised and they just want to go home, then all the efforts to get the perpetrators are wasted.”

Alex Ong of advocacy group Migrant Care cautioned that the move should not be done only to appease U.S. officials in order to get an upgrade on the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report.

Malaysia has said it was hoping to achieve a Tier 1 rating on the report, after it was upgraded to Tier 2 last year from the Tier 2 Watch List in 2016.

Tier 2 means it was not fully complying with U.S. standards but was making significant efforts to do so.

“The establishment of a human trafficking court should be functional, not window dressing,” Ong said. “Human trafficking court is just a name. Human trafficking activities remain rampant.”

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Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

Re “Risking another silent spring” (July 1): Your editorial on the new report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Task Force on Systemic Pesticides fails to mention several high-profile studies showing that the decline in bee populations has been overstated. For example, the European Commission’s Epilobee monitoring survey showed that bee losses in Europe have been higher in areas where insecticide use is lower. Likewise, a report from the Australian Regulatory Authority concluded that “Australian honeybee populations are not in decline, despite the increased use of this group of insecticides in agriculture and horticulture since the mid-1990s.”

The Task Force’s report is not new research; rather, it is a review of existing studies that selectively highlights worst-case scenarios, largely produced under laboratory conditions rather than realistic conditions of use. It also overlooks the benefits provided by this technology — including targeted pesticide application, and the fact that by maximizing yields from land already under cultivation, more wild spaces are preserved for biodiversity.

The comparison to DDT, implicit in your headline and explicit in the authors’ public-relations efforts, is also inappropriate. Unlike DDT, neonicotinoids do not accumulate in the food chain.

The crop protection industry takes its responsibility toward pollinators seriously, and is committed to supporting research into pollinator health and promoting practices that safeguard the environment, preserve biodiversity, and give farmers the tools they need to produce healthy and affordable food for all.

Jean-Charles Bocquet, Brussels

The writer is director general of the European Crop Protection Association.

The meta-analysis on neonicotinoid insecticides and pollinators mentioned in the editorial draws inaccurate connections and ignores field-relevant data. In the United States, these crop protection products are tested and strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency to minimize potential impacts on pollinators and other species. A number of studies confirm that, when used responsibly, this class of pesticide does not adversely affect bee colony health.

Predicting another “Silent Spring” ignores the great strides that have been made within our regulatory system and the phenomenal advances in agriculture technology. The crop protection industry’s dedication to good stewardship has never been stronger.

Jay Vroom, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive officer of CropLife America.

Armed civilians fuel the fires

Re “Arsonists and firefighters” (June 30): Thomas L. Friedman emphasizes that the major sects in the Middle East have more in common than intractable hatred for one another, and that it is only the influence of persistent arsonists that prevent peace from having a chance. But Mr. Friedman fails to emphasize that the presence of so many heavily armed civilians complicates the efforts of even arson-prone leaders to rein them in. This is as true in places like Ukraine and Nigeria as it is in Libya, Syria and Iraq. In the absence of full cooperation among the superpower weapons exporters, a decommissioning of weapons in these regions simply cannot happen. Widely dispersed military weapons only fuel the fires and necessitate ever more costly firefighting efforts.

Ron Charach, Toronto

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