Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Rohingya Boatpeople Preparing to Flee: Trafficking Tide Set to Resume, Say Sources

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
PHUKET: The flow of hundreds and possibly thousands of Rohingya boatpeople fleeing from Myanmar in search of sanctuary is likely to resume in the next few days, sources have told Phuketwan.

Images of secret jungle camps along the Thai-Malaysia border, exhumations from mass graves and the sight of hundreds of men, women and children trapped on human trafficking ''hell ships'' shocked the world earlier this year.

A resumption of trade in people is now beginning, Phuketwan is being told, without Thailand and its Asean neighbors formulating a new strategy or persuading the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, to cease the hate campaign and the persecution that drives the country's Muslim minority into the sea.

A summit of top-level stakeholders, held in Bangkok on May 29, discussed the issue but there has been no sign since of a regional solution.

There will be some changes this ''sailing season,'' Phuketwan has been told.

The Bangladesh Government has largely eradicated the trafficking networks that led traffickers to expand their business from Myanmar to its northern neighbor, using touts to lure young men onto boats with the promise of better-paid jobs in Malaysia.

Once on board, the Bangladeshis were often mistreated in the same way as the stateless Rohingya, who frequently became fellow passengers on the journey south.

''The Bangladeshis will not be coming this sailing season but the same racist policies in Myanmar will be driving Rohingya to flee,'' one reliable source told Phuketwan yesterday.

''There have been some arrests for trafficking in Thailand but the networks that process the boatloads largely remain in place.''

Chris Lewa, of the Rohingya advocacy group, The Arakan Project, told Phuketwan last night that she had also been told that the boats were expected to begin loading passengers over the next few days in Burma.

''It is much more difficult these days to confirm information but yes, we also have reports that boatpeople are getting ready to sail.''

The recent arrest of three Rohingya as they were about to board a scheduled bus in Chumphon province indicates that new methods are likely to be tried by traffickers through Thailand.

There's much greater awareness about the issue and more authorities are now likely to intervene. The speedy recapture of 14 women and children soon after they fled a family shelter in Khao Lak, north of Phuket, showed that police and officials are now prepared to act.

Phuketwan has also been taking calls from a trafficker in Malaysia, seeking assistance. Like many traffickers, he is persistent and won't give up until there are clear signs that Thailand is totally committed to halting the trade.


Comments have been disabled for this article.

Friday February 28, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter