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Malaysia to employ trafficked Bangladeshi workers

The Financial Express - March 9 ,2012. "The Malaysian government has decided to provide employment to a number of Bangladeshis, who were trafficked for labour exploitation through various channels in the country."

"Thirty-two Bangladeshis victims of human trafficking, who are currently interned in Malaysian shelter homes, would be the first to benefit from the decision, Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported on Wednesday.

Deputy Home Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Lee Chee Leong told the Bernama that after being released from the shelter home the first group of 32 would be given employment for a period of three years.

"To provide better protection for victims of human trafficking, the government announced a major policy decision, allowing the victims for labour exploitation cases to work in Malaysia upon their release from the shelter homes," Lee said in a statement.

The statement also said that the Home Ministry has imposed certain conditions for employment including prior consent from the victims and approval from their diplomatic missions.

According to the earlier procedure, once a victim was released from the shelter homes, the person had to return to their country of origin.

"This is due to the fact that victims' protection and rehabilitation is one of the crucial elements in the global effort to combat human trafficking, in addition to prosecuting the perpetrators of this heinous crime," said Lee.

He said the policy decision was announced by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the sidelines of the Bali Process Workshop on Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Persons that Malaysia jointly hosted with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 12.

Senior Assistant Secretary (United Nations) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Shelley Salehin, also attended the Bali Process Workshop.

On August 1, Malaysian government started the process of giving amnesty for irregular foreign workers in the country including around 3, 00,000 undocumented Bangladeshis, for meeting the country's local labour market demands.

The amnesty was also announced to allow the irregular workers to either return home without facing penalty or get regularised after registering with home country Embassy to continue with their jobs.

According to Foreign Ministry, around 2, 68,000 irregular Bangladeshi workers got registered with the Malaysian immigration until January 9 under the amnesty programme aimed at allowing them to return home without any penalty or get regularised.

When contacted, Mohammad Jobayed Hosen, Assistant Secretary (South East Asia Wing) of Ministry of foreign Affairs told the FE that they are not sure how many Bangladeshis are still staying in Malaysia illegally, after the amnesty period has ended on January 9.

The Southeast Asian nation froze recruitment from Bangladesh in early 2009 on the plea of economic recession, though experts in the sector believe it was because of malpractices in the recruitment system.

The present government is trying to reopen the labour market since assuming power."



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