PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is ready to work with the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) to address human trafficking, especially for forced labour, said Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

Saravanan in a statement here today said the cooperation could be undertaken through the framework of Malaysia's National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) launched last year and that he would meet with US and UK diplomatic missions on the matter.

Yesterday, US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters and UK High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay in a joint statement titled "Let's join forces to end forced labour practices in supply chains" had expressed their countries' readiness to share their experiences with Malaysia in facing the challenges of the issue of forced labour.

Saravanan said the issue of human trafficking, which also included aspects of forced labour, was a major challenge faced by the country, especially the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) in protecting workers' rights and ensuring compliance with the country's labour laws.

He said the MOHR was committed to addressing the issue systematically with proposed amendments to the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265) next March by including provisions related to forced labour.

Saravanan said the MOHR had also been instructed to continue working with diplomatic delegations from source countries other than the International Labour Organization (ILO) regarding the issue.

"The issue of forced labour has become one of the main points of discussion in bilateral cooperation negotiations with (Malaysia's) source countries for foreign workers.

"My ministry will also collaborate with the ILO to organise a National Dialogue on Forced Labour in March which will involve all stakeholders," he said.