Malaysia is a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced prostitution and for men, women, and children who are in conditions of forced labour. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign workers who migrate willingly to Malaysia from Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam in search of greater economic opportunities, some of whom subsequently encounter forced labour or debt bondage at the hands of their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters.

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  • Malaysia is a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced prostitution and for men, women, and children who are in conditions of forced labour. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign workers who migrate willingly to Malaysia from Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam in search of greater economic opportunities, some of whom subsequently encounter forced labour or debt bondage at the hands of their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters. While many of Malaysia’s trafficking offenders are individual business people, large organised crime syndicates are also behind some of the trafficking of foreigners in Malaysia. A significant number of young women are recruited for work in Malaysian restaurants and hotels, some of whom migrate through the use of “Guest Relations Officer” visas, but subsequently are coerced into Malaysia’s commercial sex trade. Such women from China are nicknamed "China Dolls". Many Malaysian labour outsourcing companies apparently recruited excess workers, who were then often subject to conditions of forced labour. Some Malaysian citizens are trafficked internally and abroad to Singapore, Hong Kong, France, and the United Kingdom for commercial sexual exploitation. There were approximately two million documented migrant workers in Malaysia in 2009, and an additional estimated 1.9 million who were undocumented. Many migrant workers in plantations, construction sites, textile factories, and employed as domestic workers throughout Malaysia experienced restrictions on movement, deceit and fraud in wages, passport confiscation, or debt bondage, which are practices indicative of trafficking. Some Malaysian employers reportedly did not pay their foreign domestic workers three to six months’ wages to recoup recruitment agency charges, making them vulnerable to trafficking. Refugees were particularly vulnerable to trafficking, and Malaysians from rural communities and indigenous groups were also vulnerable. The People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) continued to conduct raids targeting illegal migrant communities and detained refugees, asylum seekers, and trafficking victims along with allegedly illegal migrants and foreign prostitute. Some trafficking victims were locked up in warehouses or brothels. The Indonesian and Malaysian governments have not amended or replaced a 2006 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering the employment of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia, which authorises Malaysian employers to confiscate and hold the passports of domestic employees. The Government of Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Because the assessment that the government had made significant efforts is based in part on its commitments to undertake actions over the coming year – notably greater implementation of Malaysia’s anti-trafficking law against labour trafficking – Malaysia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The Malaysian government has shown a greater commitment to address human trafficking that is expected to lead to: increased investigations and prosecutions of labour trafficking offences and identification of labour trafficking victims; increasing efforts to prosecute trafficking-related corruption by government officials; and greater collaboration with NGOs and international organisations to improve victim services in government shelters. During the reporting period, senior government officials, including the Prime Minister, publicly acknowledged Malaysia’s human trafficking problem, the government increased its investigations of trafficking cases and filed an increased number of criminal charges against traffickers, significantly expanded training of officials on the 2007 anti-trafficking law, conducted a public awareness campaign on human trafficking, opened three more shelters for trafficking victims, and launched a five-year national action plan on trafficking. Nevertheless, these early efforts will require continued attention, as there are many serious concerns remaining regarding trafficking in Malaysia, including the detention of trafficking victims in government facilities. (en)
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  • Malaysia is a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced prostitution and for men, women, and children who are in conditions of forced labour. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign workers who migrate willingly to Malaysia from Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam in search of greater economic opportunities, some of whom subsequently encounter forced labour or debt bondage at the hands of their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters. (en)
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  • Human trafficking in Malaysia (en)
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