News / Asia

    Thai Raid Exposes Trafficking Ring, Systemic Problems

    FILE - Rohingya people from Myanmar, who were rescued from human traffickers, react from inside a communal cell at Songkhla Immigration Detention Centre where they are kept near Thailand's border with Malaysia.
    FILE - Rohingya people from Myanmar, who were rescued from human traffickers, react from inside a communal cell at Songkhla Immigration Detention Centre where they are kept near Thailand's border with Malaysia.

    Thai police say they have found 13 Rohingya from neighboring Myanmar (also known as Burma) being held for ransom at a palm plantation.

    Authorities say the discovery over the weekend, but announced on Wednesday, revealed a human trafficking ring amid recent accusations of institutionalized complicity with trafficking in Thailand and Myanmar.  

    Two men were arrested after allegedly demanding $1,500 from each of the families of the 10 men and three women, who left Myanmar's Rakhine state with more than 100 others in May bound for China and Malaysia.

    Rampant extortion

    Myanmar migrant activist Kyaw Thaung told VOA's Burmese service that such cases of extortion are pervasive.

    "Migrants have no money to pay and no food to eat. But they face demand of Thai Baht 1,500 - 2,000 ($46-$52) at the border and the authorities can’t prevent such extortion practiced by armed groups," said Kyaw Thaung.

    Two weeks ago, the U.S. demoted Thailand in its annual ranking of anti-trafficking efforts, while Myanmar was spared a similar fate. The country remains on a watch list for the third consecutive year thanks to a waiver because the government has a plan to combat trafficking.

    Deep problems

    At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador-at-large for human trafficking issues Luis CdeBaca accused Thailand of "widespread complicity" in human trafficking. Myanmar has the same problem, he added.

    "The government of Burma undertook efforts to improve anti-trafficking response, but some military officials and insurgent militia continue to subject civilians to forced labor and to recruit child soldiers," he said.

    Along the border, though, police officials like Major Min Khine say the burden of what's happening in Thailand isn't their responsibility. "Most of the cases are happening in Thai territory and we have no jurisdiction there. But we’re trying to make more arrests. Again, we alone cannot resolve this problem, we have been fighting this as much as we can for three years."

    Thai police said Wednesday they anticipate more human trafficking arrests after the weekend raid.

    Sectarian violence in Myanmar has forced more than 140,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes in the last two years.

    Since 2013, more than 1,700 Rohingya have been arrested in Thailand after their boats ran aground.

    This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Burmese Service.

     

     

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora