America Seeks Partnership with Malaysia to Fight Trafficking in Persons

Ambassador CdeBaca (center) and Charge Rapson share ideas with Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman

Ambassador CdeBaca (center) and Charge Rapson share ideas with Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman

This has been a difficult year for all of us as the global economic crisis has increased pressure on citizens all over the world. Global demand for labor has diminished and workers must try harder to find jobs. One result has been an increase worldwide in forced labor of migrants and exploitation of women in many ways, including very sadly through prostitution. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit our countries citizens for profit. Around the world, both men and women are forced to work in brothels, factories, and on farms. In many cases they are treated brutally and can even be driven to suicide or beaten to death.

America is working with international partners to increase global awareness of human trafficking and to highlight efforts to combat it. We encourage foreign governments to take action against all forms of trafficking. Please look at our Embassy website for a link to a report evaluating America’s strengths and weaknesses in combating trafficking in our own country.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that “in acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of trafficking.”

In that spirit, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Director of the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and a Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Clinton, visited Kuala Lumpur in August. During his visit he met with senior Government of Malaysia officials to learn about aspects of the human trafficking problem facing Malaysia. Ambassador CdeBaca highlighted the benefits of partnership between Malaysia and America to fight human trafficking. We welcome Malaysia’s enforcement of its anti-trafficking law, including efforts to provide temporary shelter to victims of trafficking. Migrant workers victimized by forced labor are also deserving of help and protection. The subject of trafficking related to labor is an important part of the combined effort of many countries to eliminate trafficking in Southeast Asia.

This is a serious law enforcement issue. Traffickers may break many laws in addition to Malaysia’s anti-trafficking statute. Our experience shows that once organized crime gets a foothold in a country, the criminals will look for every opportunity to turn a profit, regardless of whom they hurt. By working together, Malaysia and the United States can develop more effective ways to prevent our citizens from becoming victims and prosecute the criminals who are doing damage to U.S. Malaysian, and other ASEAN countries’ vital interests.

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