Monday, October 27, 2008


Form task force to curb human trafficking: SAPP


Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has urged the Government to set up a special task force and to invoke the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 to curb human trafficking activities in the State. SAPP Women’s Chief cum Luyang Assemblywoman Melanie Chia made the call after leading a delegation of SAPP members on a visit to the Bukit Harapan children’s home in Kuala Inanam near here yesterday in conjunction with the Deepavali celebrations. She was briefed by the home’s founder, Anne Keyworth (popularly known as Mama Anne), on the issues that the home has been dealing with all these years, including cross-border human trafficking. “The issue of human trafficking cannot be resolved by a single person or organisation. There should be a concerted effort by all parties concerned through a ‘special setup’ by the Government,” she pointed out. Melanie said the favourite modus operandi of human traffickers in Sabah is to promise potential victims, mostly young girls from neighbouring countries, decent and highly-paid jobs through some dubious employment agency. Human trafficking activities in the State came into the spotlight recently following reports of several legal suits filed by the victims. “We should act fast before things get out of control,” she stressed. According to Mama Anne, an average of 25 youths from the rural areas of Sabah leave home to work in Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore. Like their Filipino/Indonesian counterparts, a majority of them were recruited by dubious employment agencies and eventually ended up in the vice trade. Melanie also suspected that human trafficking activities could be a significant contributing factor to the drastic increase in AIDS/HIV cases in the rural areas of Sabah.