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Safe House to be Established for Victims of Human Trafficking in Sabah, Malaysia

June 24, 2009

Sabah will set up a safe house for foreign women who are victims human trafficking and domestic abuse.

The safe house will be set up at an undisclosed location and will start operating later this year, said Assistant Community Development and Consumer Affair Minister Datuk Herbert Timbon Lagadan.

He said the facility would be able to accommodate at least 20 women.

“It would be operated by the Community Development Ministry,” he said after opening a workshop to set up an anti-human trafficking monitoring committee jointly organised by the Archdiocesan Human Development Committee of Sabah and the International Catholic Migration Commission of Indonesia here. He said abused women were now sent to the peninsula to be put under a protective programme.

However, Herbert claimed that the problem of human trafficking or abuse in the state was not serious. Last year, the state recorded only three such cases.

Meanwhile, National Anti-Human Trafficking Council secretary Ahmad Ismail said it was unfair of western countries to accuse Malaysia of being a transit point foreign citizens like those from Pakistan, Iraq and India.

“They cannot say that we are not doing anything to tackle this matter. Actually, the foreign citizens come into the country using valid social visit passes, but they leave using unofficial channels,” he added. “We need the cooperation of non-governmental organisations and the public to check this problem,” he said.


Adapted from: "Sabah safe house for victims of human trafficking, abuse," The Star, 24 June 2009.
 

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