Kuala Lumpur, March 30 -- The Malaysian judicial system delivered a strong message against human trafficking when the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur convicted today Eugene Beng Hua Lim, a.k.a. Alfred Lim, on two counts of human trafficking, and sentenced him to three-year imprisonment for each count.
Criminal charges were filed by Malaysia's Attorney General's Chambers against Mr. Lim, a Singaporean national, in July 2009 upon the complaints of Filipinas Marilyn Bagsit and Marilou Capistrano.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur welcomed the judgment. "Ms. Bagsit, Ms. Capistrano and other victims of human trafficking need not wait any longer. Justice finally prevailed," said Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya, who was present at today's session.
"We thank the Malaysian Government, particularly the Attorney General's Chambers and police authorities, for its strong partnership in the campaign against human trafficking. In line with the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III, we will tirelessly work to ensure that the rights and welfare of Filipino nationals are safeguarded," the Ambassador added.
The Embassy also cited the diligent work done by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Ashiqin binte Zulkipli in handling the case.
In June 2008, Ms. Bagsit, Ms. Capistrano and four other Filipino women fled the placement agency offices of Mr. Lim after enduring prolonged periods of abuse and maltreatment. They sought the assistance of the Embassy and cooperated with Malaysian authorities in pursuing criminal charges against Mr. Lim.
In June 2010, Ms. Bagsit and Ms. Capistrano testified in court that they were recruited with insufficient documentation in their Luzon hometowns by Mr. Lim's Filipino agent, and then deployed in Malaysia as domestic workers where they were mistreated by their employers.
They initially sought refuge at Mr. Lim's agency only to suffer verbal and physical abuse during their stay there. He threatened that they will be sold in prostitution to recover the expenses he incurred in recruiting and deploying them.
The Filipinas were repatriated to the Philippines three weeks after giving their testimonies in court.
Mr. Lim's counsel manifested an intention to file an appeal before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur.
The Embassy also commended the effective team work among Philippine agencies and entities which ultimately led to the conviction, notably among the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, the Department of Justice thru Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Severino Gaña, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center thru Ms. Susan Ople, the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs, and the Embassy's Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) team, notably Consul General Renato P.O. Villa and ATN Officer Ariel Esparto.