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Cablegate: Police in East Malaysia Discuss Trafficking In

VZCZCXRO6789
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHKL #1557/01 2960953
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230953Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0147
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 001557

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS AND G/TIP
DOJ FOR ICITAP AND OPDAT
JAKARTA FOR ICITAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KCRM KJUS ID MY
SUBJECT: POLICE IN EAST MALAYSIA DISCUSS TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS, WELCOME TRAINING

REF: A. KUALA LUMPUR 1236 - MALAYSIA ENACTS TIP LAW

B. KUALA LUMPUR 1145 - SENIOR ENGAGEMENT ON TIP

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Poloff met with police leaders in East Malaysia
during the first week of October to discuss trafficking in
persons (TIP) issues in their region. To date, police have
prosecuted or detained local syndicates and "gangsters"
involved in trafficking under various legal options not
specifically related to trafficking. Police were cognizant
of the new anti-TIP law and considering approaches to
implementation. The police officials expressed their desire
for U.S. technical assistance for identifying victims and
investigating trafficking crimes. At the Tebedu/Entikong
border crossing between Sarawak and Indonesia's West
Kalimantan, we witnessed the wide latitude enjoyed by
employment agents seeking to recruit Indonesian workers on
the spot. Septel will report additional TIP information from
our East Malaysia visit. End Summary.

East Malaysia -- Destination and Transit Area for TIP
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. (U) Poloff traveled to the East Malaysia states of Sabah
and Sarawak, September 30 to October 5, and met with senior
police officials to discuss TIP. Both states are destination
and transit areas for human trafficking. According to NGO,
press and diplomatic sources, an unknown number of foreign
victims are trafficked into prostitution in East Malaysia,
while there are also reports of forced labor on plantations
and timber operations. Sabah is located relatively close to
the southern portions of the Philippines, a couple hours via
boat, and offers traffickers relatively easy entry points
into Malaysia. Both Sabah and Sarawak share land and
sea-lanes with Indonesian Kalimantan and are used by
traffickers to transport mainly Indonesians into and through
Malaysia.

Police Views on Trafficking
---------------------------

3. (SBU) Poloff met respectively with Abdul Rahman bin
Hussin, Sarawak State Acting Police Commissioner; Noor Rashid
Ibrahim, Sabah State Police Commissioner; and Zakaria Yusuf
and Abdul Razak bin Arshad, Deputy Superintendents of Police
for Labuan in East Malaysia. The senior police officers in
all three meetings opened with a statement that they did not
have a major TIP problem, only "isolated cases." The
discussion then centered on the difficulties of combating
trafficking. Common difficulties exist in all three regions;
the greatest challenge according to police is the use of
legitimate travel documents with counterfeit information.
Traffickers and their victims, along with intending illegal
migrants, make extensive use of bought passports or valid
tourist visas to enter Malaysia. On the Indonesian side of
the border, individuals can purchase an Indonesian passport
for approximately $170 (600 Ringgit), Malaysian police
claimed. The most common trafficking pattern according to
police involves employment agents in countries of origin who
use deception to recruit TIP victims.

4. (SBU) All three police leaders were cognizant of
Malaysia's new anti-TIP law, and were considering efforts to
implement the law, although Police Commissioner Noor Rashid
stated he had yet to receive a copy of the new statute.
(Note: We understand from national level officials that
police have yet to receive instructions to act on the new
law, septel. End Note.) Police also discussed methods to
pursue the traffickers. The police believed most traffickers
to be "gangsters" and members of "loose syndicates" involved
in more than just trafficking. To date, police have used a
variety of statutes to arrest and charge suspected
traffickers. Police in both Sarawak and Sabah described the
difficulty in gathering evidence to convict a trafficker in
court. The alternative readily available to police in such
cases is preventive detention and detaining suspects without
trial under the Emergency Ordinances. In Sarawak, police
voiced their frustration that the U.S. did not recognize
their past efforts to detain and jail traffickers.
Nevertheless, police officials uniformly voiced their desire
for U.S. technical training on investigating trafficking
cases. In particular, the police wanted training in evidence
collection and processing; identifying, safeguarding, and
interviewing possible trafficking victims; and coordinating

KUALA LUMP 00001557 002 OF 002


transnational trafficking investigations. Police in Sarawak
welcomed the recent U.S. support (via ICITAP) for the TIP law
enforcement seminar they hosted in July (ref B).

Border Crossing Scene
---------------------

5. (SBU) Poloff visited the Tebedu / Entikong border
crossing between Malaysia and Indonesia on September 30. The
morning is the busiest period at the border; however, a
steady stream in both directions continued during the
afternoon. Within the no-man's land about a dozen employment
agents freely roamed, looking for recruits. The agents even
have their own designated rest area. Poloff saw employment
agents at the border-crossing attempt to entice a group of
Indonesian women who told Poloff they were on their way to
work in Brunei. The employment agents offer women and men
jobs in Malaysia and elsewhere. When the individual accepts
the offer, the agents shepherd the person through immigration
into waiting vans. According to police and local Catholic
Church officials, once illegitimate employment agents have a
victim inside Malaysia, they send their "recruits" to various
locations like brothels, bars, timber operations, and
plantations. Traffickers transport some victims to West
Malaysia or other countries. When Poloff asked Malaysian
immigration officials about the agents working in the
no-man's zone, the officials appeared visibly nervous and
would not answer Poloff's questions.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) With Malaysia's new comprehensive TIP law as the
entry point, our conversations with police leaders in East
Malaysia highlighted the opening we have to engage with
Malaysian law enforcement officials to increase their
awareness of TIP and improve their skills for combating
trafficking. The July 17-19 TIP law enforcement conference
in Sarawak, hosted by the Sarawak police and supported by
ICITAP/Jakarta and the French Government, was a modest but
constructive beginning (ref B) in East Malaysia.
National-level officials appear to be equally inclined to
work with USG counterparts for law enforcement training for
anti-trafficking (septel).
KEITH

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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