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The alleged rapist smiles at the camera while raping a Rohingya woman

Rape Video Shows Trafficking Brutality

Thursday, October 23, 2014
PHUKET: Graphic video of a gang rape may be the first real evidence of the brutal treatment of captives in the secret camps run by human traffickers in the jungles and plantations of southern Thailand.

If authenticated, the video provides a compelling visual reference in support of survivors' claims that rapes, killings and beatings are still taking place as Thailand's horrific trade in people continues unabated.

Phuketwan understands the disturbing footage has been passed to Immigration authorities south of Phuket in the hope they can trace the perpetrators and have them charged.

The woman and the faces of two of the rapists are clearly identifiable.

In the worst moment of the video, one of the rapists turns while carrying out the rape and smiles at the camera as the victim covers her face with her arms.

It is believed the victim and her two rapists may still be in a jungle camp in Thailand, along with the person who recorded the video.

Survivors from the camps have told Phuketwan and other news outlets that the traffickers have become so free from fear of being caught that rapes and killings remain part of the process of extracting ransom payments from the relatives of Rohingya boatpeople.

The Rohingya, mostly from Burma's Rakhine state but also sometimes from refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, are fleeing ethnic cleansing or poor treatment and hope to find sanctuary in Malaysia.

The beginning of the ''safe'' sailing season in two weeks is likely to produce an explosion in the numbers of boatpeople travelling south.

Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which tracks the movements of the would-be refugees fleeing Burma and Bangladesh, says that 9000 boatpeople departed in November last year and a similar number or more are expected to take to the sea north of Thailand this year.

''A massive number of people have started moving now,'' she said. ''I am fearful of what is going to happen.''

Local authorities north of Phuket recently intercepted a large group of boatpeople as traffickers prepared to move them south by road to the jungle camps where the abuses and mass extortion takes place.

Police along Thailand's Andaman Sea coast usually document arriving boatpeople as illegal immigrants and seldom if ever investigate claims that human trafficking is taking place.

However, claims that mass kidnapping is now occurring inside Bangladesh and that most new arrivals in Thailand are destined to become slave labor on fishing boats or in factories in Malaysia or Indonesia has triggered intervention by local residents in Phang Nga, the province north of Phuket.

The district chief in the town of Takuapa, backed by local Muslim, Buddhist and Christian residents, has interviewed 134 boatpeople at length and declared that, according to international standards, they are victims of human trafficking.

A special report published yesterday by Reuters news agency adds weight to claims that because Thai authorities have failed to enforce laws against human traffickers on land or at sea, abductions are now taking place in Bangladesh. Thai vessels are said to sail north to collect the victims.

The alleged rape video highlights the audacity of the traffickers and the impunity with which they are pursuing their trade in people through Thailand.

Since 2009, when Phuketwan reporters working with the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong first revealed the inhumane ''pushbacks'' of boatpeople from Thailand, a lax approach to investigating human trafficking has led to Thailand being downgraded this year to Tier 3, the lowest level on the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons register.

Thailand is unlikely to regain Tier 2 status unless there is evidence that a serious attempt is being made to halt the growing trade in people through Thailand and arrest those now heading the human traffickers.

Declaration of Interest: In July next year, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian face a continuing trial over criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act charges brought by the Royal Thai Navy, citing a 41-word paragraph from a Pulitzer prize-winning Reuters special report on the Rohingya boatpeople. Reuters and other news organisations in Thailand that published the same paragraph have not been charged. The charges were laid before the military takeover in Thailand.

Comments

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Be proud of yourself Thailand!

Posted by sky on October 23, 2014 12:47

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but meanwhile the General is fighting against umbrellas and sunbeds.

Posted by Dominik K. on October 23, 2014 13:13

Editor Comment:

The General is probably not being told the truth.

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Let 22nd May 2014 become a celebration date. Let the military become, be and stay hero's. Let bad influences and bad figures not get the overhand and any control over power back again. I'm fully aware PM Prayuth and his Generals can not overlook all and neither solve all at once. But in foreign media negative new's relating to Thailand is published and discussed more and more. This harms Thailand, see the weakening tourism figures. And all this not without reason. Human Trafficking becomes more and more undeniable. Where 22nd May was applauded by far, far Most of the Thai and Thai residents. Now slowly also critical notes and question marks are placed. This has noting to do with PM Prayuth's, undoubtedly, good intentions, but all with old habbits and the still existing old-fashioned style of hierarchy in Thailand. When will Thailand modernise and admit it when mistakes have been or are made?
Admitting errors and mistakes has nothing to do with losing face now a days. In this modern time of social media it is more a sign of being mature and admitting responsibility. Thailand didn't get a place in United Nations Council for human rights in Geneve this week. And According to Human Right organisations Thailand needs to improve itself first. What is happening with Human Trafficking in and around Thailand should be solved first. Whole the Earth sees things go wrong. But Thailand simply denies. The new government needs time to stop this. But those involved should get their punishment. This Human Trafficking is partly based on Greed.
PM Prayuth I understand your team need time to solve this Human Trafficking issue, but a clear and strong public warning to all cullprits involved would give a lot of confidence that matters will be solved. Denying and acting like an Austrich is not an option anymore. The World is witnessing all of it. Let Thailand / Land of the Free be a name to be proud of and meaningful. Don't let it become a nickname or a joke. It is clearly visible that some powerfull and greedy influences still work against all what is promised since the take over from the military. PM & Military & Police get rid of the criminals involved please. Protect the innocent and the weak.

Posted by phuketgreed on October 23, 2014 15:22

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sickening

Hope they catch these guys, and all others associated with this trade

Posted by Michael on October 23, 2014 15:31

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Ed,
The General is probably not being told the truth.
From hwo?

Posted by Retired Roadworker on October 23, 2014 15:31

Editor Comment:

People in positions of authority who are pretending the passage of people through Thailand doesn't happen.

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It doesn't make any sense. Massive transits by Rohingya, then alleged kidnapping in Bangladesh, slavery on fishing boats, but still Rohingyas on the move here. Then ransom payments and trafficker rampage. Thai boats to pick up, hello coast guard?

Sound like four or five stories in one. But coming to one ending:
Thailand seems to become a sanctuary for Asia's worst traffickers. Disgusting.

Posted by Lena on October 23, 2014 16:36

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While nobody can deny or begrudge anyone's search for a better life.
One does wonder how many of the 'Burmese' workers on Phuket are 'Burmese'. Could they be 'from' or 'via' Burma? Will never know I guess. Strange that news reports indicate that many 'others' are intercepted Phuket bound?
If a 'Burmese' possesses a "legitimatized?" bit of paper to enable work in Thailand, rather impossible to determine true origin of these poor people methinks.

Posted by david on October 24, 2014 09:12

Editor Comment:

Please do some research. Burmese work in their thousands on Phuket, legally and illegally, but tolerated. Rohingya and Bangladeshis who are kidnapped don't chose to make the voyage. They are destined to work as slaves on fishing boats or in factories. Others who come voluntarily are fleeing violence and the threat of death. They are stateless Rohingya. They have no home. They are not 'Burmese'. Your understanding of the people who share the region with you needs to be improved. No point in ignorant guesswork.

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Okay yes I am obviously ignorant and do not research..fair enough..so we must assume all 'Burmese' on Phuket are "recognised" as "Burmese Citizens'. So why are "those' that are intercepted Phuket bound?....and where are they now?..Certainly not off to Malaysia..Is Phuket not a bit high profile to funnel fishing boat etc slave labour?

Posted by david on October 24, 2014 09:46

Editor Comment:

Our research hasn't extended to Phuket fishing boats but further south, there is a continuing demand for crews. Most of the people arriving on boats are not aiming for Phuket. Those arriving by trucks are Phuket-bound. The two are both mostly from Burma, but with entirely different motivations. One group has citizenship and are economic migrants. They are tolerated because they are needed. The stateless sanctuary-seekers are poorly treated by both traffickers and officials.

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Thanks ed for your logical and clear response:
Still wonder however why the powers that be have targeted you ..a well meaning 'Phuket Reporter' Suspect that there maybe is perhaps a deeper "Phuket" centric issue that 'they' would rather not be published? Take care mate ..you deserve a medal methinks.

Posted by david on October 24, 2014 10:19

Editor Comment:

The result will be greater exposure by international media of all the issues involved in Thailand's human trafficking coverup. There is no hiding this appalling trade in people in the 21st century.


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