Crooked maid agents

TRAFFICKING Unscrupulous employment agents have been taking advantage of Malaysians desperate for maids but the law is catching up with them

The Home Ministry, hard-pressed in arresting the problem of employment agents cheating employers and abusing foreign maids by “recycling” them, will charge them under the tough Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2010.

Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam said while cheating employers was a clear-cut offence committed by the agents, the authorities also considered them as people smugglers.

If convicted, the culprits could be slapped with fines of up to RM1 million or sent to jail for up to 20 years, or both.

Mahmood said both the police and Immigration Department were in hot pursuit of these agents and individuals who had cheated thousands of Malaysians who had turned to them for maids in desperation following a scarcity over the last two years.

Livid at reports that many employers had been cheated of their hard-earned money by such agents, cashing in on their “deliver, run and recycle” modus operandi, the authorities will for the first time charge them with trafficking.

“What these unscrupulous agents are doing with these maids is also a form of human trafficking.

This is because there are elements of exploitation involved.

“I urge people to contact the police if they have information about such agents,” Mahmood said.

Ministry sources said many agents had, since the 2009 moratorium on maids imposed by Indonesia, turned this massive shortage of maids into a lucrative

It allowed them to generate thousands of ringgit per month through “recycled” maids at the expense of Malaysian employers.

Prior to the ban, which Jakarta imposed following alleged cases of abuse of their maids, about 3,000 Indonesian maids were coming into the country every month.

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