THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE COME OFF TRACK FOR 42 RESCUED VIETNAMESE WOMEN
Press Statement: JUMP/POHD (Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian and Penang Office of Human Development) learned that the 42 Vietnamese women rescued on March 18th from a house on Jalan Hull in Georgetown are now jailed in Juru Detention center. The women, who were at a shelter in Kuala Lumpur, were quietly transported to the detention center on March 30th and are now jailed. They are allegedly being charged under the Immigration Act for overstaying their work visa. This situation is unacceptable and JUMP/POHD is requesting:
1. Immediate release for the jailed 42 women, to be placed in a government or POHD shelter;
2. Complete transparency in the anti-trafficking investigation, Magistrate’s report, and circumstances leading to the 42 women being jailed;
3. Full joint task force review of this case by the Department of Labour, Department of Immigration, and DPP
4. Vietnamese Embassy take a stronger role in asking for the release of their jailed citizens and the right to redress the alleged abuses
JUMP/POHD is calling for an extended protection order and the immediate release of the 42 woman currently jailed at the Juru Detention center. In accordance with the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007, these women are afforded protection whereby:
“The Magistrate may at any time, on the application of an enforcement officer or a Protection Officer, as the case may be, extend or revoke the Protection Order made under this section.”
We are calling on the appropriate authorities to file an application and the Magistrate’s court to immediately extend the protection order for the 42 Vietnamese women until an in-depth review of this case is completed.
JUMP/POHD has serious concerns regarding the probable conclusions of the anti-trafficking investigation as well as the circumstances leading up to 42 women being quietly jailed at the Juru Detention center on March 30th. Sources have purported that this case was classified as labour trafficking by the Department of Immigration, however, the DPP allegedly made the evaluation that the case did not constitute human trafficking. JUMP/POHD believes the Immigration investigation rightly identified this case as human trafficking. JUMP/POHD is calling for the DPP to release their report of findings in this case and to provide complete transparency regarding the investigation and circumstances that lead to a revoked protection order.
Jump/POHD believes this case deserves additional inspection by all authorities involved in anti-trafficking issues, particular when so many women and men are found in unacceptable living conditions and without viable work permits. JUMP/POHD is calling for this case to be reviewed by a joint task force including the Department of Labour, Department of Immigration, and DPP. Of particular concern in this case are the employer’s (agent’s) actions, contractual dealing, and employee payments prior to the rescue and during the anti-trafficking investigation. Serious allegations have been conveyed regarding human rights, immigration, and labor law abuses. Jump/POHD is calling for a task force to collectively review this case and thereby provide a thorough and complete report to the Magistrate’s court regarding a situation in which so many women (and men) were in need of rescue.
A police report has also been lodged against the employer and the immigration department for unlawful detention and for the police to intervene and take action under the labor trafficking act.
Penang Office for Human Development
Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian