US department of justices Resident Legal Advisor Karine Moreno, Taxman for Malaysia Human Trafficking (second from right) discussing with participants on issues related to victims in Kota Kinabalu. (Pix by EDMUND SAMUNTING)

KOTA KINABALU: Traffickers have better control of their victims who are of the same origins or country.

US Department of Justice (DoJ) resident legal advisor for Malaysia Human Trafficking Karine Moreno-Taxman said it is a strange phenomenon that some traffickers chose to exploit their own kind.

"There are occasions that traffickers are in better control of victims with same origins as they understand the social issues and norms.

"Victims who thought to be offered better jobs are often depending on traffickers when they arrive at new place, do not speak the (local) language, no documents and no phones to contact their family members," she said after opening a three-day dialogue here with judges from Sabah and Sarawak.

Moreno-Taxman added the victims are also often convinced that seeking help from authority will only lead to them being arrested by police.

Their dependency caused traffickers to coerce them to be trafficked and exploited.

The inaugural dialogue, which was organised by the US DoJ, aims to highlight the victims' perspective in human trafficking crime.

On Tuesday, law enforcement personnel and prosecutors will also attend the dialogue to know more on ways to gather evidence on human trafficking issues.

Moreno-Taxman said human trafficking is a difficult crime to be understood and to be prosecuted at the court.

Since human trafficking is universal, people have to work together to help the voiceless victims, she added.

On a related development, Moreno-Taxman said Malaysia's Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM 2007) is a good and comprehensive law that meets the standard of other countries.

"Malaysia has done a good job for moving up to Tier 2 (watch list in the US annual Trafficking in Persons report),which shows continuous effort by the country to learn and find ways to improve prosecution, besides making sure it is being done in just and fair way.

"The things that can be improved are public awareness and understanding of human trafficking issues through media reports,” she added.

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