CALLOUS and SHOCKING! – Proposal to exploit human trafficking camps for tourism

Proposal to turn tragedy into profit is unsettling

Shahidan Kassim, former Perlis menteri besar and current MP for Arau, shocked the entire nation when he recently proposed to turn one of the largest human trafficking camps discovered near Lubuk Sirih into a tourist attraction. It was reported he was impressed by the makeshift infrastructure (a wooden mosque, a house for an imam, vegetable farm, etc.) built by traffickers.

As a scholar of tourism, I understand Shahidan’s enthusiasm and desire to explore this niche tourism sector known as dark tourism. Dark tourism is defined as tourism that involves travel to sites historically associated with death, disaster, tragedy and the macabre and human beings, for some reason, are particularly drawn to these.

Shahidan was also reported to have said, “With this as a new tourism spot, it will also deter human trafficking activities from taking place as there will be more people coming in and out.”

Very few often succeed in presenting this level of education and awareness in a tasteful manner. When done correctly and tastefully, these sites can be managed respectfully, although, this may not usually be the case.

For example, the Sri Lankan army came under fire for their plans to “open holiday homes on a site where tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the civil war”. Many saw this as the army’s way of glorifying the senseless deaths that took place.

Only recently, has dark tourism found its way into mainstream society. In 2012, The Dark Tourism Institute was founded to record all types of macabre locations and to provide much needed industry guidelines. The institute is spearheaded by Philip Stone, a renowned scholar who had conducted numerous researches detailing and discussing the supply and demand of dark tourism. It is considered relatively new, hence, often regarded as a sector that is still somewhat unexplored and a work in progress.

The line that separates respectful pilgrimage and voyeurism is a fuzzy one; memorialisation and commercialisation remains unclear as ethical guidelines for marketing and promoting these sites are still seriously lacking. The question we should be asking is, how can we honour the victims and survivors of one of the greatest tragedies that has affected our nation?

Exploring this sector will require comprehensive research, detailed planning and thorough understanding of the human psychology. In other words, it is best to let the field experts decide and conclude if such sites are conducive to be turned into tourist attractions.

How can we avoid exploiting the grievances of both victims and survivors of trafficking? Can we guarantee an industry that will not produce something immoral from these gruesome discoveries? How can we raise the level of awareness without being disrespectful?

These questions can only be answered by those qualified and competent in the field; those who have dedicated a considerable amount of time trained in this subject – unfortunately, Shahidan Kassim does not make that cut and it would be in his best interests to refrain from commenting on this matter any further.

The callous statements made regarding the refugee crisis, from day one, have shown his utter lack of compassion and empathy. Those affected by this tragedy – be it directly or indirectly, will need time to heal. It would be a better decision to offer counselling and other forms of assistance to help society recover and try to make sense of the horrors that have occurred.

His recent proposal to turn tragedy into profit is unsettling and is especially hurtful to those who have lost their loved ones simply because our system failed to protect the well-being of other human beings.

Proposal to turn tragedy into profit is unsettling
By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
June 1, 2015 – FMT


0 Responses to “CALLOUS and SHOCKING! – Proposal to exploit human trafficking camps for tourism”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?



%d bloggers like this: