Fake news on human trafficking? Tell us which ones, says NGO

Last Updated on Feb. 20, 2019, 2:42 p.m.

PETALING JAYA: Human rights organisation Tenaganita has questioned the home ministry’s claim that many reports on human trafficking are fake, saying the ministry should specify which media it is referring to.


Glorene Das says most reports are backed with facts and evidence.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das said based on the group’s experience in dealing with the media on cases involving human trafficking, most reports are backed with facts and evidence.

“Most of what is reported is based on information, so they don’t just carry fake news on the issue of human trafficking. They have shown a tremendous amount of professionalism in the way the news is reported.

“It is a fact that there is a high incidence of human trafficking in the country. Malaysia is a hot spot.

“There have been reports stating that we are the destination country, transit country, and to an extent, also the source country.

“How can we say then that there are false reports?” she told FMT.

Glorene was referring to the home ministry’s claim that many reports on human trafficking by international or local media spread on social media are false.

The ministry’s secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim was quoted as saying on RTM that the government was not in denial of the existence of human trafficking.

“But if there is valid proof in a case, the ministry will take action in accordance with the provisions of the law.

“Such laws include the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007,” Alwi had said.

Glorene said it was possible that the ministry had called the reports fake news due to a lack of knowledge and understanding on what constitutes human trafficking.

“As a result, the statistics could be low when in reality, it is quite high.

“It is also possible that such cases are categorised under different laws, such as labour laws.”

However, she noted that the ministry had set up a special court to resolve the prosecution and trial process of pending human trafficking cases.

In January, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the special court would prove the government’s seriousness in checking human trafficking, irrespective of whether the act was committed by individuals in Malaysia or overseas.

“The effort in setting up a special court shows that we have a high number of human trafficking cases in Malaysia.

“So, what false reports are they claiming when it is an obvious truth that Malaysia actually has a lot of human trafficking cases?” Glorene said.

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