A Career with a Mission – Abolishing Modern-Day Slavery |

A Career with a Mission – Abolishing Modern-Day Slavery

20120202_Daniel_Lo_w170The human trafficking industry is one of the most profitable (illegal) industries in the world, underscoring how hard it is to eradicate its ills. It is a $ 15.5 billion industry with at least 360,000 recorded slaves. That is just the tip of the iceberg. This was the alarming data presented by Mr. Daniel Lo – Country Manager of the Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA), a non-profit organization based in Malaysia. He was speaking to the students in a career talk chaired by Ms. Sarah Bailey on 2 February 2012 at the LKY School.

Beginning with a short but effective video, Mr. Lo went on to explain the global scenario of human trafficking. Originating from poverty, this phenomenon is prevalent everywhere and still rampant in industrialized countries. Internationally, the countries have been mapped and categorized in tiers according to the prevalent situation and policy steps made to curb this human misery. The developed world i.e. Central Europe and the United States are in the first tier. Singapore and Malaysia are placed in the watch-list (third tier). A Tier 1 indicates that a state government has recognized the problem of human trafficking, has made efforts to address the issue, and meets the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards. A country with a Tier 2 rating has not met the standards but has made efforts to do so, while a Tier 3 rating means the country has not met the minimum standards and has not attempted to do so. (URL: http://chartsbin.com/view/548 ) 

He further elaborated the state of trade in Malaysia – being the area of operation of his organization. Before 2007, there was no legislation on human trafficking in the country. Consequently, the international rating was low. Even after the passage of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act in Malaysia, the implementation gaps posed challenges to achieving targets. Still, the country is on the watch-list. The government and CAMSA – being the only NGO working on this subject – are making strides. On average, two victims of human trading are rescued every day in Malaysia. Since its inception in 2008 the CAMSA had rescued 4,000 victims, Mr. Lo added.

He elucidated the four-pronged strategy of CAMSA: intervention on identification of the case through different sources, taking legal action against offending employers, engaging law enforcement agencies and cross border partners, and influencing governmental policy channels by public opinion and diplomatic support. He informed the participants of the talk about the collaborative work of CAMSA with other councils in the country and abroad.

There is still much to do on policy level, he said. Though there was a great concern in different government agencies as the country was on the international watch-list since 2011, implementation loopholes still existed. On the impact made by the NGO sector, he said Taiwan’s example was instructive. Where once it faced a dire situation in human trafficking, Taiwan is now not only positioned in the first tier but also used as a bench mark in curbing human trafficking with help from the efficient services of four NGOs working in the area.

Mr Lo forewarned students of the harsh social realities in an otherwise fulfilling career path in his talk. His thought-provoking talk left the students debating about the dire need for concrete policy steps for sustainable livelihood for the poor victims and how greed is an underlying cause of the ever-prevalent trafficking trade.


By Asif Mehmood, a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the LKY School.


If you would like to have a career which is packed with excitement, challenge, team work and mission, come and listen to Daniel talk about his experiences as he works to abolish modern-day slavery in Malaysia.

Collaborating and leveraging with both local and international partners, you will hear about how survivors of sex and labour trafficking are rescued, how they are cared and protected and also how these efforts advocate for legal, policy and implementation changes in Government policies. Furthermore, all this is set in the context of a global fight against modern-day slavery.

Modern-day slavery is a growing trade where traffickers illegally profit from tears, blood and sweat of others. Consequently, modern-day slavery is now the third most profitable criminal activity in the world after the illegal trafficking of drugs and arms and is at least a USD15.5 billion industry annually.

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Mr. Daniel Lo, Country Manager (CAMSA), Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia

Thursday, 02 February 2012
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 2-2
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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