Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anti-trafficking law prohibits employers from exploiting maids

PUTRAJAYA: Employers found ill-treating maids can be charged under the Anti-Trafficking In Persons Act, 2007.

Failure to provide proper accommodation and renew work permits; withholding salaries, abuse of power in dealing with foreign workers, threatening and forcing them to carry out certain jobs were all chargeable offences, said department director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman.

“The Act allows for action to be made against employers for exploitation. There is a large category of offences that can be included under it.

“We are warning errant employers not to think they can get away with ill-treating maids,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Abdul Rahman said employers found guilty of offences under the Act would also face stiffer penalties than before.

The department was handling 12 cases involving eight local employers to be brought to court for various offences under the Act.

Asked if the use of the Act to bring more offenders to book would help improve Malaysia’s rating in the eyes of the US State Department, Abdul Rahman replied “yes”.

The US State Department had in its 2009 report earlier this year downgraded Malaysia to Tier 3 status from Tier 2, as it had failed to comply with global efforts to fight trafficking. The Star.

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