Friday, August 28, 2009

Malaysia, Australia To Tackle Human Trafficking

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and Australia will set up an integrated data base as one of the steps in tackling human smuggling and trafficking woes.

Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap said both countries would respectively, appoint a lead agency to collect information from its enforcement agencies.

"For Malaysia, the focal point would be the Royal Malaysia Police where all information about human smuggling and trafficking would be channelled to them from our local enforcement agencies.

"For our counterpart, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services would be their focal point because they are responsible for border control," he said.

He said this at the sideline of the Malaysia-Australia Working Group Meeting on the Issue of Smuggling and Trafficking of Humans here on Thursday.

Raja Azahar said, although enforcement agencies from both countries, such as the immigration, had been working closely before this, the information was not channelled to the other enforcement agencies.

Raja Azahar said they were also looking into other aspects such as training and an awareness programme to enhance cooperation between both countries.

"Australia would provide us with campaign materials to raise awareness about human smuggling and trafficking. These materials would be translated into various languages and we would get the local leaders to distribute the materials.

"These would be distributed to people living at the borders because some of them are not aware that the activities that they are involved in, are against the law," he said.

He said that they were also looking into a mechanism to tighten control at ports as it was a favoured passage for human smuggling and trafficking.

Meanwhile, Deputy Home Minister Jelaing Mersat who also attended the meeting, said the cooperation between both governments could help to prevent human smuggling and trafficking.

"Our country is very serious about this. We are giving full participation. The outcome of the meeting will be beneficiary, not only to our country but also for neighbouring countries," he said.

On the 'Pacific Rim Intelligence Conference' which will be held in October in Kuala Lumpur, Jelaing said the conference would give the opportunity to Malaysia in increasing knowledge, information and intelligence on how to reduce illegal movement by illegal people.

The conference would be attended by 13 countries of the Pacific region, including three nations as obsevers, to share ideas and experiences to fight international crime, including human trafficking. -- BERNAMA

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