Dynamic teaching methods and specialized training materials brought the victim centered approach to life for Malaysian specialist prosecutors and judges at the Warnath Group’s tailored Malaysia Anti-Human Trafficking Case Skills Training. Malaysia’s Judicial and Legal Training Institute (ILKAP) hosted the training in Selangor October 8th through 10th.
The Warnath Group team for this training consisted of CEO and Founder Stephen Warnath, Senior Advisor Sheila Berman, Warnath Group Specialist Experts Albert Moskowitz and Renee Huffman, and Warnath Group Policy Analyst and Program Coordinator Joanna Nicoletti.
The participants, who represented all of the Malaysian states and territories, engaged in vigorous discussions on working with victims in various stages of the case, successful prosecution, and working with interpreters. As an additional tool of engagement, the Warnath Group team utilized participant polling in several modules to gauge participants’ understandings and priorities, then used this real-time feedback as discussion points for the group.
In response to the Attorney General’s Chambers’ new directive, requiring prosecutors to meet with victims of human trafficking who are witnesses in trafficking cases prior to trial, the Warnath Group designed distinct training modules to provide opportunities for prosecutors to practice victim interviewing and trial preparation techniques and for judges to be exposed to the prosecutors’ responsibilities and procedures pre-trial. Local actors, prepared for their roles by the Warnath Group, portrayed trafficking victims during two of these exercises and offered feedback to both the prosecutors and judges based on their interactions. Another session brought government victim shelter managers from Kuala Lumpur and Melaka to participate with Daniel Lo, Special Officer of Human Rights from the Office of His Honourable Minister, Senator Datuk Paul Low Minister in the Prime Minister’s Dept., and Renee Huffman, in a productive discussion with victim service providers and how criminal justice actors can improve coordination and collaboration with shelter management for the benefit of victims and prosecuting traffickers. These modules proved invaluable in allowing these distinct groups to communicate their shared goals, challenges faced, and strategies moving forward.
A host of experts attended and supported the Training in addition to the Warnath Group team. Ken Kohl, Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, helped open the training with remarks on the importance of working with victims drawn from his own career as a prosecutor in the U.S. The Attorney General’s Chambers’ representative, Deputy Public Prosecutor Adilla bt. Ahmad, participated in the particularly rich discussion of differing applications of critical sections of Malaysian law for prosecuting human trafficking cases. Elisabeth Socolow, Political Advisor from the U.S. Embassy, worked with the Warnath Group to plan the Training and attended several sessions.
At the end of a successful program led by the Warnath Group’s uniquely credentialed and experienced experts, several participants remarked the Training was an “eye opener” and the skills learned would be directly applicable to all types of cases. The Warnath Group will continue working with its Malaysia Training participants, through dedicated Warnath Group web pages and tailored communications, every six months to facilitate knowledge and resource sharing. This Training was made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), and with the help of the U.S. Embassy to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.