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Stop human trafficking in Malaysia, DAP MP tells gov't

DAP Klang MP Charles Santiago (above) has said the government needs to step up to stop human trafficking after a report revealed that Malaysia was a destination for sex trafficking of Rohingya girls.

A report from the Child Rights Coalition Malaysia had said that Rohingya girls were forced into the sex trade after being lured from refugee camps with promises of a better life.

Santiago said this phenomenon was "nothing new", and claimed that the women and girls were trafficked from the Rakhine state.

He had visited the largest refugee camp at Cox's Bazar last year for the a fact-finding mission.

The difference from the report was where the victims were from, he said, adding that some later became child brides.

"But this (report) will reflect badly on the Malaysian government. The authorities here need to buck up to end the trade and trafficking of people," he said, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.

This illicit trade, he claimed, had been going on in Malaysia for some time.

He added that the report could potentially affect Malaysia's ranking in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

"A downgrade in the TIP report might have an adverse reaction to the country and implications for the economy, especially when it comes to trade with the US," Santiago said.

Malaysia was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List on the TIP earlier this year. Those on Tier 2 do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to meet those standards.

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