Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Airways are joining Air Asia in training their employees to recognize victims of human trafficking starting early next year.
Malaysia’s Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that both cabin crew and ground staff will be trained to spot and step in to help victims as they are “Our first line of defence against human trafficking when it comes to travelling by plane.”
The New Straits Times explains that the training module is adopted from the United States:
Nur Jazlan said the training will be conducted by professional trainers from the Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (MAPO).
He said human trafficking victims appear to be under the control of others, show indications of mistreatment, adding that they may also look frightened, ashamed or nervous. “They will be taught how to identify a human trafficking victim, even if the perpetrator is seated right next to them. They will also be taught how to identify human trafficking victims forced to travel alone.”
He said the training module, which is adopted from the United States, focuses on helping flight crews recognise the signs and body language of a person in need of help.
Tackling trafficking in the transportation industry is important to Malaysia because in this year alone MAPO says it has rescued over 1,000 trafficked women — the majority of whom are foreigners who were promised high-paying jobs. Victims are currently housed in 10 safe houses with the support of NGOs and the government.
Malaysia has seen in increase in human trafficking convictions this year. Jazlan said a total of 116 convictions were made in 2017 compared to last year’s 33. The government is also considering applying the Prevention of Crime Act as a preventive measure to detain those suspected of being a part of human trafficking syndicates.