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A newly arrived boatperson shows scars from trafficker abuse

Thailand's Trafficking Revealed: Community Uprising Exposes Industrial Strength Trade

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
TAKUAPA: Four men are missing feared drowned today as the sudden arrival of more than 130 boatpeople turns Thailand's perceptions of human trafficking upside down.

Kidnapping is now a major new scourge.

Most of the scores of survivors now being processed north of Phuket are not minority Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution but everyday citizens of Bangladesh, seized and taken from near their homes by gangs with links to human traffickers extending south through Thailand to Malaysia.

Some of the men now being classified as human trafficking victims are not even Muslim, but Hindus, with families back in Bangladesh wondering where they have gone and whether they are still alive.

The local community around the Andaman coastal town of Takuapa has taken action over boatpeople into their own hands and made the point in no uncertain terms that the human trafficking industry is thriving in Thailand, no matter what government pronouncements say.

Since Phuketwan revealed the inhumane pushbacks of boats from Thailand in 2009, traffickers have grown their business along the coast south of Burma (Myanmar).

Like all businesses providing steady income for locals, the trafficking industry has strong support, providing jobs and income, with arrests seldom made by local law enforcers.

Now, a community revolution is underway. Catholic, Muslim and Buddhist organisations around Takuapa combined with district authorities last weekend to stage what amounted to a trafficking uprising to expose the evils of the flourishing people trade.

Instead of passing on newly arrived and apprehended boatpeople to local police, who always treat them as ''illegal immigrants,'' activist groups have processed them independently.

In doing so, the good people of the Takuapa district have revealed that this long-running saga of sanctuary seekers is now not just about volunteers boarding boats to travel south, but also about scores of people being kidnapped and shipped involuntarily to an uncetain future, probably as slave labor on boats or in factories.

The nightmare of Thailand's attempts to play down levels of trafficking has finally been revealed.

It's worth noting that Burma's attitude to the Rohingya in Rakhine state remains contemptuous, so more traditional boatpeople will flow to Thailand's shores between now and April, the ''safe'' sailing season.

Added to that, though, are now the kidnap victims from Bangladesh, people who had no plans to travel but who have found themselves in a foreign country.

This is supply and demand at its most horrific.

The human trafficking industry along Thailand's coast is now indisputably linking the labor sources of Bangladesh and Burma with the needs of fishing trawlers and factories in Malaysia and Indonesia.

It's time Thailand interrupted this shocking process and cleared the trafficking stain from its reputation, once and for all.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


It would be nice for Thailand to clean this stain from its reputation, but its mixed with so many other stains, it all has to be replaced from top to toe.

Posted by Tbs on October 14, 2014 12:57


According to our continue assessment and nearly monitoring on genocide escapee Rohingya boat people ,economic and kidnapped Bangaladeshis ,it is very clear that without arrest and confiscating of every movable and immovable properties of traffickers the tragedy can not be stopped. The government authority including multi religious civil society should target traffickers, their muscle men and kidnappers first rather than focus on victims 0nly . Once traffickers' backbones are broken , the trafficking industry will be stopped for ever. The main tragedy producing country Burma must be internationally warned and if necessary intervention is also needed .Thanks to the Thais for chracteristically come forwards to eradict trafficking from Thai soil .It is our call to end humanitarian crisis and deal the Rohingya refugees as per international standard.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on October 14, 2014 13:17


Reader Letter !

Why turn back time?

More than 80% of the tourists want back the full services on all the beaches on the island of Phuket. (Beach chairs, umbrellas, massage women, etc.) Should be not immediately all this services coming back, the tourism business will drop down and this will seriously affect the Economy of Thailand. It is incomprehensible to turn back time and to destroy a business which was grown up in the past 40 years . Tommy und Manny (Expats)

Posted by Tommy u. Manny on October 14, 2014 17:03

Editor Comment:

Better to destroy the business than destroy the beaches, Tommy. The scam has worked for a long time, and made many individuals quite wealthy, helped by you. But the beaches belong to all Thais, and now all Thais have them back. Take your money somewhere else.


Considering your current predicament, vis-a-vis the defamation court case, I would say you are "going for broke".

For which, you have my admiration.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

Posted by Smithy on October 14, 2014 17:45

Editor Comment:

We're not going for anything. We started off broke.

Thursday June 20, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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