Simon Kanuragaram visited the Raoul Wallenberg Institute last year as part of the Fellowship Programme for International Human Rights Law in Asia. Now, from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia where he works, he tells us about the positive outcomes of that previous experience.
What did you do at RWI during your time here?
As a member of the Fellowship Programme, my task was to develop a research based training module on trafficking. I developed a training module titled “Combating Human Trafficking through Capacity Building and Advocacy in Malaysia: Providing Victim-Centered Protection for the Trafficked Persons.”
What do you think are the aspects of the protection of the victim that need to be urgently improved upon in Malaysia?
A comprehensive rehabilitation programme is highly urgent. This programme should include professional counselling, skill training for re-employment, and the facilitation by the state of all the necessary documents for re-employment or deportation should the victim wish. Another important aspect is the freedom of movement of the victims. They should be allowed to move out from the shelters.
What does “victim-centered” protection mean?
Victim-centered protection means a protection system which focuses on the empowerment of the victims of trafficking. Such a protection system should be able to render services to the victims in order to pull them out of the stigma and trauma they have been put through.
What positive outcomes can the implementation of these modules have on human trafficking in Malaysia?
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia has adopted the training module as part of its training programme for the enforcement agencies and government officials. However, due to a severe budget cut in 2016, the Commission is unable to carry out any training at the time. Nevertheless, the Commission will be sending a copy of the training module to the Malaysian Council of Anti Trafficking, looking for some positive results.
Looking back, what did you learn from your experience at RWI that you are able to apply now in your current job?
I think the most useful thing that I learned at RWI that I am able to apply in my current job is mainly the research skills that I gained while developing my training module on human trafficking.
However, I also learned other things about RWI that were not that related to my research. For example, in my job now we are trying to improve the Commission’s Communication strategy. For that purpose, the RWI’s Communication Strategy has become an example I can look at while arguing for the better ways to improve ours.