ASIA/THAILAND - Human trafficking in Southeast Asia does not stop

Monday, 18 May 2015

Koh Lipe (Agenzia Fides) – Human trafficking continues to be a very serious problem in Southeast Asian Countries. Criminal networks extend from the west of Burma, crossing the coastal areas of Bangladesh, to the southern coast of Thailand. According to the method used by traffickers, money from emigrants is required on arrival in the Country of destination, often in Malaysia, where most of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority persecuted in Burma, and the Bengalis fleeing misery, hope to find refuge.
According to human rights groups, once in the south of the Country, migrants are held in the forest waiting for friends or family members to pay between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000 in order to be released. Others are sold to factories in Malaysia. According to Freeland, an NGO that helps the Thai police to investigate criminal gangs, a boat with 400 people on board earns $800,000. In early May, Thailand launched a series of operations in the south of the Country, in the forest, against the transit camps used by traffickers, where several mass graves were discovered. The new policy of Bangkok has triggered a chain reaction and smugglers have fled, leaving hundreds of migrants at sea or in the jungle. "Most traffickers from Burma and Malaysia claim that Thai leaders are those who earn more from these trades", said a member of the NGO Fortify. Forced by unemployment, poverty and despair, many Rohingya are also involved in trafficking networks. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 18/05/2015)