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May 11, 2011: Hariati Azizan, Rita Jong, Lydia Edwina Gomez and Andrea Bertone

(Click to enlarge) From left to right: Ms. Hariati Azizan, Ms. Rita Jong and Ms. Lydia Edwina Gomez discuss trafficking issues in Malaysia.

From Left to right: Dr. Andrea Bertone discusses the importance of preventing trafficking from occurring with Dr. Satu Limaye, East-West Center in Washington.

Addressing  Human Trafficking Issues in Malaysia and Southeast Asia

Related Publication:
Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 88 , by Pooja Terasha Stanslas

WASHINGTON, DC (May 20, 2011) -- Many countries within Southeast Asia are making substantial efforts to address the issue of human trafficking, which is both a global and regional concern. Three Malaysian journalists, who were also participants in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program, Ms. Hariati Azizan, Ms. Rita Jong, and Ms. Lydia Edwina Gomez discussed the current human trafficking concerns that exist in their country, as well as efforts being made by the grassroots community and the Malaysian government to address this issue. The discussant, Dr. Andrea M. Bertone, examined the issue of trafficking within the regional context of Southeast Asia and emphasized how governments and non-profits are working to prevent these cases from occurring.

This  Asia Pacific Democracy & Human Rights seminar was cohosted with American University’s ASEAN Studies Center and the Malaysia-America Society of Washington D.C.

Hariati Azizan is a senior writer with Star Publications , an English-language newspaper in Malaysia and has written extensively about human trafficking in the country and region. In addition to conducting her own investigations and interviews with local Malaysian NGOs and victims of trafficking, she is learning about the U.S. policy towards trafficking in persons, as well as the day-to-day work conducted by the U.S. government in the global fight against modern day slavery. Rita Jong is a court reporter for the English-language daily newspaper, New Straits Times , and writes frequently on the legal and judicial processes of Malaysia. She has covered many human trafficking and high-profile cases, such as the trials of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Before joining New Straits Times, she was a reporter with Malay Mail from 2001-2006. Lydia Edwina Gomez is a journalist with the New Straits Times and began her career at the English language daily in February 2005. Currently, she is responsible for covering topics such as the rights of children and the disabled, health, and politics.  Ms. Gomez has been working on Malaysian and regional human trafficking stories since 2006, and is also a member of the National Union of Journalists in Malaysia. Andrea M. Bertone is a visiting assistant professor of international affairs at the George Washington University. She has been working on issues of gender equity, child protection, human rights, and human trafficking since the mid 1990s, and is the director of , the first comprehensive, publicly available, Internet-based information resource on human trafficking in Asia, the United States and other selected global hotspots. Dr. Bertone received her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park.