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


The Director of Takuapa District, Manit Pleantong, is leading a change

Thailand Must Halt Human Trafficking, Declares District Chief North of Phuket

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
PHUKET: A district chief backed by community activists aims to free Phang Nga from human trafficking, diverting Thailand's secret trade in people north through Ranong or south through Phuket and other provinces.

''I am doing this for Thailand,'' the Director of Takuapa District, Manit Pleantong, said today. ''Everybody around the world knows that human trafficking takes place through Thailand.

''We have to fix it. These traffickers and destroying Thailand and its reputation.'' Khun Manit is inviting other district chiefs to join the anti-human-trafficking campaign.

His principled stand has already produced results. In a reversal of the usual approach, local police yesterday issued a formal written declaration that 81 boatpeople, like a previous group of 53 from the same boat, are all victims of human trafficking.

Thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople are believed to have been deposited along Thailand's Andaman Sea coast over the past five years and trucked in secret to trafficker's camps in southern Thailand, without hindrance.

Once in the camps, relatives pay ransoms to have the captives transferred across the border to Malaysia - but not before some of the victims are tortured or raped, or die needlessly from the appalling primitive conditions.

Although the 134 men and boys apprehended two weeks ago have now been declared human trafficking victims, the fate of about 176 people from the same vessel, trucked south before their rescue, is not known.

Witnesses have come forward to tell Khun Manit that the fishing trawler that brought them all south from Cox's Bazaar was later sunk off the Thai coast, not far from Takuapa. The site has been pinpointed.

All the rescued human trafficking victims are now being transferred from the community hall in Takuapa to shelters run by the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

The Bangladeshi citizens among them will be flown home as soon as possible, a spokesperson for the Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok said yesterday. Before that happens, officials will check each man's background and verify individual accounts to determine whether they were kidnapped or induced to seek better jobs.

The Bangladesh embassy's Minister (Consular), Muhammad Ehteshamul Hoque, travelled to Takuapa with Ministry of Foriegn Affairs officials and officers from the Department of Special Investigation to interview the men and boys.

''It's plain that these people have been deceived and exploited,'' he told Phuketwan. ''With everyone's help, we can make some progress towards stopping this problem.''

He said he was pleased to hear ''the seriousness in the tone'' of anti-trafficking comments made by Khun Manit and the Governor of Phang Nga, Prayoon Rattanaseri.

The Bangladeshi boatpeople would be transferred first to Bangkok and then flown home, Mr Hoque said. Police from the country's Criminal Investigations Department will question the men on return to try to trace the traffickers.

''We are trying to combat this problem,'' he said. ''In February we arrested some traffickers, including Thais and Rohingya.''

He said that if Thailand's Department of Special Investigation wanted to pursue the issue, it could be possible for DSI officers to interview the traffickers being held in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh had established coast guards and border guards in special camps near the coast to check whether fishing boats are genuine or carrying people in their holds, he said.

''These people must be discouraged,'' Mr Hoque said. ''Bangladesh has an agreement with Malaysia to officially supply labor.''

Earlier this year, Thailand was relegated to Tier 3, the lowest level, in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report.

Most countries take about three years to persuade US officials that attitudes have changed and that real effort is being made to obliterate human trafficking.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Nice to read about a proactive District Chief who actually acknowledges problems for a change instead of sweeping them under the carpet.

Posted by Mister Ree on November 4, 2014 11:24


Nice to see some people really care about others. Make it a criminal offense punishable by death and the stripping of all assets.

Convict one or two and see how quickly this vile trade is avoided.

Posted by Graham on November 4, 2014 14:10


Great kudos to Khun Manit. His stance against a lot of money streaming is quite brave.

Posted by Lena on November 4, 2014 21:07


''Bangladesh has an agreement with Malaysia to officially supply labor.''


People may be made to believe that they are following an official path, but then to discover they're not, and they may be not understanding what stepts to be undertaken to distinguish a legitimate broker or staffing agency from not a legitimate one. Actually, it means they should check some kind of paperwork, and to derive from it, may eb with some additional verification like checking info on web or by phone, whether the paperwork is OK.
If in Europe so many people are falling victims of if not traffickers but dishonest staffing agencies, then I hardly imagine how they can in practice check whether the opportunity what they're going to take is offered within an official Malaysia-Bangladesh agreement or not.

Posted by Sue on November 4, 2014 23:22


Excellent, but extremely upsetting, video on the Al Jazeera "People and Power" series, entitled "Outcast: Adrift with Burma's Rohingya".

Well worth watching:

Posted by Smithy on November 6, 2014 17:16


This has to stop!

Posted by Steve on November 10, 2014 05:50



Posted by Sudhir Sajwan on November 10, 2014 15:24


The District Chief Khun Manit can not control the rescued people in the camp or police custody. There are people around him who always busy to steal the victims but he doesn't know them really. Every victim can be sold @ minimum 2000 US dollars . I am sure the sincere and honest officer Khun Manit realizes it now. The officers and honest volunteers should have very difficult to clarify the traffickers. Every Rohingya pretend to be rescuers ,activists and translators are directly work for traffickers. I am sure most of the victims are going to be recycled again in between traffickers and rescuers. If the rescued victims can be kept out of Rohingya helpers touch ,Khun Manit dream will be easy to reach goal. Otherwise the trafficking will be continued .rohingya victims are hot cake to pickpocketing a big money within hours in the south.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on November 10, 2014 18:46

Thursday May 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter