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Kidnap victims nominate the man they say beat and abused them

Thailand Faces Choice: Let Traffickers Continue or Get Serious About Boatpeople and Kidnappers

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
TAKUAPA: Haggling has begun over the future of more than 130 men kidnapped in Bangladesh who now find themselves stranded in Thailand.

The men have all been declared human trafficking victims by authorities and the local community north of Phuket in what amounts to an uprising over the rights of the region's boatpeople.

All 132 of the men should be returned to their homes in Bangladesh as speedily as possible. It would be unfair if the Bangladeshi citizens were taken back but the Rohingya refugees, who have families in Bangladesh and have lived there in some cases for 20 years, were left behind in Thailand.

Otherwise, with more than 130 extra mouths to feed, even the generosity of the local Catholic, Muslim and Buddhist activists who banded together to help the district chief of the Thai township of Takuapa will be stretched.

Thailand now has the opportunity to prove it is serious about removing the country from its bottom level rating of Tier 3, achieved in this year's US State Department Trafficking in Persons report.

Much has since been promised but little has actually been delivered.

Five years ago, Phuketwan journalists working with the South China Morning Post newspaper revealed the inhumane pushbacks of hundreds of Rohingya from Thailand.

The pushbacks, by the military, led to the deaths of hundreds at sea.

That horrendous policy was replaced by a ''help on'' policy under which the Royal Thai Navy intercepted vessels laden with would-be refugees and gave them food and water to keep sailing towards Malaysia or some other country.

In the years since the policy was introduced, the ''help on'' regime has become ''help yourself.''

Human trafficking, virtually free from serious enforcement, has flourished along Thailand's Andaman coast. And now, in a new development, the Bangladeshi kidnappers are also helping themselves.

It is believed that the 132 men, all kidnapped without knowledge of their families, were destined for sale to fishing trawlers or factories in Malaysia or Indonesia.

It's not known what has happened to the others among the 310 people brought to a secret island off the coast of Thailand on the same vessel. Among them were seven children and three women.

Authorities in Bangkok have now been made fully aware of developments in Takuapa.

The kidnap twist in the saga of the boatpeople off Thailand comes with the sailing season just beginning, and many thousands of boatpeople expected to flee on boats from Burma.

Adding the Bangladeshi kidnap victims to the mix shows how strong the trafficking pipeline has become through five years of consistent growth for the industry.

Will Thailand's military government, making pronouncements about transparency and honesty, shut down the traffickers and end the trade in people through Thailand?

Coming days will tell.

Meanwhile, a third low-level Thai local trafficker has been arrested and named his boss as Alee Banjob, 35. He too will have bosses in Bangladesh and probably Malaysia or Indonesia.

It's to be hoped that authorities in Thailand over the next six months of the sailing season treat the boatpeople with due care and end the years of the ''help yourself'' policy.

Until then, traffickers and now kidnappers will do exactly that with impunity.

Comments

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great article and Thailand needs to learn very quickly there days of covering stuff up is no more instant media and social media is here to stay

things in the past like the slaughtering of vietnamese boat people on samui for there possesions is no longer possible

Posted by Michael on October 14, 2014 15:11

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All these trafficked people should be escorted back to where they want to go, comfortably in air-conditioned coaches.

That is what a responsible, developed country would do.

Thailand, the world is watching you.

Posted by Smithy on October 14, 2014 18:06

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The BRAT applaude Thai civilsociety's landmark afford .
Thailand now has the opportunity to prove it is serious about removing the country from its bottom level rating of Tier 3, achieved in this year's US State Department Trafficking in Persons report. The local of TAKUAPA Catholic, Muslim and Buddhist activists who banded together to help the district chief of the Thai township of Takuapa will be stretched and we fully solidarity with them. The BRAT has been voiced out to delete inhuman policy 'HELP ON' since boat people starts reaching here.I've learnt that a few NGOs used to propose that deadly HELP ON policy to Thai authority . We fully support TAKUAPA LOCAL ELITE's method regarding victims of traffickers and kidnappers.Bangladesh government should arrange to take back all kidnapped victims from Bangladesh soil.Thailand is ardently requested to deal with traffickers and kidnappers with special law like drug dealers. In the mean times Thai civil soceity is requested to voice out against Burma which is the real actor of producing Refugees. Once Burma respect Human Rights and stop genocide on Rohingyas ,the trafficing and kidnapping industries will be flopped.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on October 14, 2014 18:26

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Please read as : Bangladesh government should arrange to take back all kidnapped victims from THAILAND soil.
I
Thank you in advance.
Maung Kyaw Nu

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on October 14, 2014 19:17

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To stop it from re-occurring an investigation should be brave enough to move up along the chain of command of the trafficking enterprise.
And who knows what , and yes, whom, they will find there..
Definitely, real organizers, coordinators and profiteers are not engaged in the sort of "field work" that being done by men wearing RUN clothes.

Posted by Sue on October 14, 2014 20:38

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"The push backs, by the military, led to the deaths of hundreds at sea."

You can prove this?

Posted by matt on October 14, 2014 22:48

Editor Comment:

Survivors who arrived in Indonesia and India's Andaman and Nicobar told what happened, matt. It's on the public record.

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"Thailand faces Choice.."

And don't we all! - life is little more than time, and choice after choice - so lets make good ones, and learn from our poor ones.

Posted by farang888 on October 15, 2014 00:00

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Great article PW. For me another piece of evidence that free press is needed to keep the "check & balance" alive in Thailand.

Posted by phuketgreed on October 15, 2014 02:26

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If foreign people can be smuggled in by influential thai people, than drugs smugglers also can do a easy job, right?

Posted by Kurt on October 15, 2014 12:21

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Stop this misery of human slavery.

Posted by Kurt on October 15, 2014 12:26

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what does "it is believed that the 132 men...were destined for sale to fishing trawlers or factories in Malaysia or Indonesia" mean? How do you know this?

Posted by dom on October 15, 2014 15:39

Editor Comment:

We don't. That's why the sentence begins . . . ''It is believed . . . '' If you have some other idea about where these kidnapped young Bangladeshis might have been taken, please tell us.


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