S$19 a day to provide shelter for asylum seekers

A child, believed to be Rohingya, eats inside a shelter after he was rescued along with hundreds of others

PETALING JAYA: It costs between RM30 (S$11) and RM50 a day to provide shelter for a human trafficking victim in Malaysia, according to the Department for Women's Development (DWD).

Fatheen Erryanee Rosli, an assistant director at DWD, revealed that there were 125 women victims currently under the department's protection, setting the department back around RM5,000 a day.

"If a court finds that a woman has been trafficked, it will issue a protection order and send her to our shelter homes," she said.

Women make up the most number of human trafficking victims, with four out of seven shelter homes in Malaysia being dedicated to female victims.

Fathleen explained that most victims have been traumatised and require counselling for their rehabilitation, which adds to the cost.

DWD falls under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said it was important to identify those who were victims of trafficking.

"It is our duty to provide the victims with protection and rehabilitation," she said.

Rehabilitation, she said, involved finding temporary jobs for the victims until they could be legally sent home.

Tenaganita pointed out that with increasing demand for "cheap labour", employers would "use every means" to hire undocumented migrants and refugees.

"Business owners must be held accountable for the purchasing of human beings as commodities," said director Glorene A. Das.