KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Airways have joined AirAsia in helping their employees identify victims of human trafficking among passengers.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said both airlines’ cabin crews and ground staff will receive training to help them spot and rescue human trafficking victims who may be travelling with their perpetrators under duress.
“They will be our first line of defence against human trafficking when it comes to travelling by plane and trafficking someone into the country.
“The training is expected to start early next year in stages, batch by batch,” he told reporters after opening the “Walk the Talk – Stop Trafficking Women and Girls” campaign organised by Soroptimist International Malaysia (SIROM) at the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation here today.
Also present was SIROM president Dr Saradha Narayanan.
The campaign aims to raise awareness on human trafficking and to educate the public, especially university and college students, on what they can do to help prevent human trafficking.
Nur Jazlan said the training will be conducted by professional trainers from the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (MAPO).
He said human trafficking victims appear to be under the control of others, show indications of mistreatment, adding that they may also look frightened, ashamed or nervous.
“They will be taught how to identify a human trafficking victim, even if the perpetrator is seated right next to them. They will also be taught how to identify human trafficking victims forced to travel alone.”
He said the training module, which is adopted from the United States, focuses on helping flight crews recognise the signs and body language of a person in need of help.
In August, AirAsia became the first airline in the continent to crack down on human trafficking, which experts say earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers.
Nur Jazlan said this year, MAPO rescued 1,089 human trafficking victims, all women and the majority of whom are foreigners.
He also said the rescued victims will be kept under council’s care until investigations are completed.
MAPO currently houses the victims at 10 safe houses jointly run with non-governmental organisations and supported by the government.
On the conviction rate in human trafficking case, Jazlan said a total of 116 convictions were made compared to last year’s 33.
Nur Jazlan said the government is mulling the use of the Prevention of Crime Act as a preventive measures to detain those suspected of being a part of human trafficking syndicates.
“We need to be vigilant against the perpetrators who are involved in human trafficking, and the public plays an important role by reporting to the authorities if they suspect any human trafficking activities are taking place.
“Most of the victims are promised high-paying jobs before they arrive and are then forced into vice activities,” he added.