It followed years of lobbying by anti-trafficking activists who expressed frustration at the use of the CDA by the online classifieds site Backpage. The government reported initiating 89 new investigations of trafficking cases in , a decrease from investigations in The government provided some basic services to those staying in its shelters. A January government policy placed the burden of paying immigration and employment authorization fees on foreign workers; this increased the risk that workers would become trapped in debts to recruiters or loan sharks, placing them at even greater risk of debt bondage. More serious is the prohibition against preaching of a faith.
During the year, 1, Bangladeshis entered Malaysia to work under a January memorandum of understanding MOU between the Governments of Bangladesh and Malaysia that reinstated a formal labor migration channel between the countries. One NGO observed an increase in the number of Malaysian women who were subjected to sex trafficking overseas during the year. Anyone possessing more than seven ounces of marijuana or one-half an ounce of heroin will be assumed to be a drug trafficker, and will be tried as such. A significant number of young foreign women are recruited ostensibly for legal work in Malaysian restaurants, hotels, and beauty salons, but are subsequently coerced into the commercial sex trade. This represents a significant decrease from the 1, potential victims and certified trafficking victims confined in government facilities in Sexual Laws Malaysia once had very strict laws regarding homosexual conduct — in the Deputy Prime Minister was removed from power on sodomy charges — but the attitude regarding sex has shifted as democracy has taken hold. The Labor Department employed 13 specialized enforcement officers, but continued to rely on workers to initiate a complaint of non-payment of wages before they would investigate a potential trafficking case. The Royal Malaysia Police operated a specialized anti-trafficking unit and the government reported hiring an additional officers into the unit in Some unidentified victims, particularly those whose documents had been confiscated by employers, continued to be detained, deported, or charged with immigration offenses. Removing any flora or fauna from Malaysia is strictly prohibited, and may result in extensive fines, imprisonment, and expulsion from the country. The government detained foreign victims in these facilities 24 hours per day, with few exceptions. Engaging in drug trafficking in Malaysia is punishable by death, and the courts take this law seriously. Vivian Lee's lawyer believes his client has a good defence for the only charge that remains under the Sedition Act pic. One NGO reported improved access to the government-run shelters to provide psychological counseling in During the reporting period, the government made limited efforts to improve its flawed victim protection regime. Some foreign embassies sheltered victims directly to expedite their repatriation and protect them from detention in Malaysian facilities during lengthy criminal proceedings. It did not report information regarding investigations targeting recruitment agencies or other intermediaries who may be involved in trafficking. The government did not provide data as to whether these were sex or labor trafficking victims. At times, the government granted NGOs access to victims in government facilities; however, it prevented some victim assistance organizations from accessing shelters to provide services. Many incur large smuggling debts; traffickers use these debts to subject some refugees to debt bondage. Website owners and operators found guilty of contributing to sex trafficking face 25 years in prison plus fines under the new law, while victims can also sue for damages in civil courts. The government provided some basic services to those staying in its shelters. They were slapped with three charges - one under the Film Censorship Act for displaying pornographic material featuring the pair on a website. NGOs reported that Malaysian authorities released a small number of identified victims to an embassy which had given assurances to the Malaysian government that it would repatriate the victims immediately. Experts regard shelters that prohibit victims from leaving as posing a serious risk for re-traumatizing victims.
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