Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘burma’

Special Report: Thailand secretly supplies Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on December 6, 2013 at 10:19 am
Ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar wave as they are transported by a wooden boat to a temporary shelter in Krueng Raya in Aceh Besar, in this file picture taken April 8, 2013.  CREDIT: REUTERS/JUNAIDI HANAFIAH/FILES

Ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar wave as they are transported by a wooden boat to a temporary shelter in Krueng Raya in Aceh Besar, in this file picture taken April 8, 2013.

One afternoon in October, in the watery no-man’s land between Thailand and Myanmar, Muhammad Ismail vanished.

Thai immigration officials said he was being deported toMyanmar. In fact, they sold Ismail, 23, and hundreds of other Rohingya Muslims to human traffickers, who then spirited them into brutal jungle camps.

As thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar to escape religious persecution, a Reuters investigation in three countries has uncovered a clandestine policy to remove Rohingya refugees from Thailand’s immigration detention centers and deliver them to human traffickers waiting at sea.

The Rohingya are then transported across southern Thailand and held hostage in a series of camps hidden near the border with Malaysia until relatives pay thousands of dollars to release them. Reporters located three such camps – two based on the testimony of Rohingya held there, and a third by trekking to the site, heavily guarded, near a village called Baan Klong Tor.

Thousands of Rohingya have passed through this tropical gulag. An untold number have died there. Some have been murdered by camp guards or have perished from dehydration or disease, survivors said in interviews.

Source: Reuters


MYANMAR-THAILAND: Child trafficking continues, but not fuelled by cyclone

In Child Trafficking, Human Trafficking on July 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Photo: International Federation
Agencies feared children would be at greater risk of trafficking in the wake of Cyclone Nargis

When Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May, leaving close to 140,000 people dead or missing, aid workers feared an increase in child trafficking from the region.

Burmese children have long been trafficked into Bangkok and other urban areas of Thailand where they are forced to sell flowers, beg or work in domestic service, according to World Vision. Others work in agriculture, fishing, construction and the sex industry, the NGO said.

Today they make up the largest proportion of foreign child labour, Thailand’s immigration detention centres report.

Source: IRIN News

Thailand ignoring slaves at sea, says EJF report on Burmese migrants

In Awareness, Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on July 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thailand is facing fresh allegations of using slave labour in its fishing industry with the launch of a new investigation into the sale, abuse and exploitation of migrant workers on Thai fishing ships.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), an environmental and human rights NGO, highlights the case of 15 Burmese men who had been rescued from boats in its report Sold to the Sea: human trafficking in Thailand’s fishing industry (pdf). All of the men claim to have been deceived by labour brokers and forced to work up to 20 hours a day for months at a time with little or no pay on shrimping boats in Kantang, a city in the south of Thailand.

The men had been subjected to bonded labour, forced detention, and abuse and beatings by senior crew while working on ships operating in Thai waters, according to EJF.

Two of the men reported seeing fellow migrant workers tortured and executed for trying to escape, and witnessing the murder of at least five other men. Another man reported multiple murders and bodies being thrown out to sea with the crew forced to watch.

Source: The Guardian (video available at the link)

Kachin State Conflict Increases Human Trafficking to China: Report

In Human Trafficking on June 9, 2013 at 4:05 pm
Children eat dinner at a temporary camp on Sino-Burmese border for people displaced by fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). (Photo: Reuters)

Children eat dinner at a temporary camp on Sino-Burmese border for people displaced by fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). (Photo: Reuters)

The Burmese government’s offensive against Kachin rebels in northern Burma has greatly increased the risk of human trafficking along the Sino-Burmese border, according to a Kachin rights advocacy group.

In its new report, titled “Pushed to the Brink” and launched at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) said that more than 100,000 displaced Kachin refugees lack refugee protections and face shortages of humanitarian aid. Such hardships are helping to fuel the trafficking of children and women to China.

Julia Marip, an advocate for the ethnic Kachin and spokeswoman for KWAT, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that in the two years since a ceasefire broke down between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), about 66,000 people have been displaced in KIO-controlled areas alone.

With humanitarian aid to the region being withheld or blocked by Burmese authorities, refugees including children and women have been forced into labor on the Sino-Burmese border, with some even crossing into China in search of work.

Source: The Irrawady

DSI arrests Myanmar woman on human trafficking and forced labour charges

In Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Teth Teth Win was arrested on May 30 by a DSI team of investigators, led by Pol Major Jatuporn Arunroektawin, head of DSI Human Trafficking Suppression Division 2.

According to investigators, Teth Teth Win and her daughter Win Tanda Aong had illegally smuggled at least 15 people from Myanmar and forced them to work at a corn factory located in Tha Ma Kha district of Kanchanaburi province.

Jatuporn said his team had arrested Teth Teth Win and rescued six women from Myanmar who had been detained and tortured while they were staying at a camp for workers located near the factory. They had never received any wages despite being forced to pay between Bt15,000 and Bt20,000 to Teth Teth Win and her daughter for entering Thailand through Mae Sot and travelling to Kanchanaburi.

Source: Nation Multimedia

Human Trafficking Report Roils Thai Fishing Industry

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on June 2, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thailand is doing little to prevent the human trafficking of workers coming from other countries, and many of these indentured servants are finding their way to the fishing industry, where they are forced to work on vessels engaged in illegal, or pirate, fishing, a new report says.

The trafficked workers are subject to long hours, little or no pay and physical and mental abuse up to and including murder, with 59% of Thai fishing workers who were surveyed by the United Nations in 2009 saying they had seen a fellow worker murdered, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation report, “Sold to the Sea–Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry”, released Wednesday.

Because of Thailand’s tight labor market, many people coming to the country for work wind up in fisheries, where they are subject to horrific working conditions, the report said. Many of these workers end up on illegal fishing vessels, and a recent report from the environmental group Oceana found up to 20% of the world’s fish are caught illegally.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Myanmar’s brides to China top human trafficking list

In Forced marriage, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on January 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

About 80 percent of human trafficking cases in Myanmar over the past five years involved women being smuggled into China for forced marriage, a Myanmar Police Force official said last week.

Of the remaining 20pc of cases, 10pc involved Thailand and 6pc Malaysia, the spokesperson from the Department of Transnational Crime said.

“Myanmar woman are in great demand because China practises its one-child policy. About 80pc of human trafficking in Myanmar are due to forced illegal marriage issue in China,” he said.

“Solving this problem will not only require the effort of the police force. It is partly related to poverty and also we need to improve education, particularly in the border areas.”

Between January 2006 and August 2011, 731 trafficking cases were reported, 585 of which involved China.

Source: MMTimes

Ending Human Trafficking is Within Our Reach

In Awareness, Human Trafficking on December 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Editor’s note: The historic anti-slavery concern last weekend in Myanmar, also known as Burma, was made possible by a coalition of organizations, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). We invited USAID to reflect on what the concert meant for the modern abolition movement. Chris Milligan is USAID’s Mission Director in Burma.

What a year of historic firsts.  In April, Secretary Clinton re-established USAID’s mission in Burma, our first in 24 years.  In November, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit the country, and he and Secretary Hillary Clinton officially dedicated USAID’s mission.  And this past Sunday (December 16), in Burma’s first city of Rangoon, the first major international live-event was held in over half a century.

The event was Live in Myanmar, MTV EXIT’s 31st concert to counter trafficking in persons.  Held in Rangoon’s People’s Square, at the base of the country’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda, over 50,000 people gathered to hear multi Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter Jason Mraz perform.  He was joined by top artists from Burma and Thailand, including Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein and R Zarni, Chan Chan, Sai Sai, Lynn Lynn, Phyo Gyi and Chit Htu Wai, and Slot Machine.  The commitment and work by these local and regional artists was particularly moving.  All performed for enthusiastic fans, and all came with a common purpose: to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Source: USAID

Jason Mraz & Myanmar: Singer Hits Country For Anti-Trafficking Concert

In Awareness, Human Trafficking on December 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm
Jason Mraz performed in Myanmar.

Jason Mraz performed in Myanmar.

American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz mixed entertainment with education to become the first world-class entertainer in decades to perform in Myanmar, with a concert to raise awareness of human trafficking.

Mraz’s 2008 hit “I’m Yours” was the finale for Sunday night’s concert before a crowd of about 50,000 people at the base of the famous hilltop Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

Local artists, including a hip-hop singer, also played at the event organized by MTV in cooperation with U.S. and Australian government aid agencies and the anti-slavery organization Walk Free.

Myanmar is emerging from decades of isolation under a reformist elected government that took office last year after almost five decades of military rule. It has been one of the region’s poorest countries, and its bad human rights record made it the target of political and economic sanctions by Western nations.

Source: Huffington Post

Police closing net on gangs supplying ‘slaves’ to trawlers

In Awareness, Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on November 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Anti-human trafficking division police search a fishing trawler in an estuary in Samut Sakhon for any crew who might have been trafficked to work on the ship. WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM

Many of the workers are promised well-paid jobs, often in the fishing industry, but are instead forced to work in slave-like conditions for months on end with little or no pay.

Officers have dealt with 20 cases of workers being abused in this way since 2007. That modest figure, however, belies the large scale of human trafficking operations going on in the country.

“The problem is a matter of grave concern,” anti-human trafficking division chief Chawalit Sawaengphuet said. “We believe there are many exploited labourers who choose not to complain to police when they’re back ashore.”

The workers targetted by human trafficking gangs are often impoverished Thai and Myanmar men. With the promise of well-paid work, they are deceived into working in squalid conditions in often poorly-maintained trawlers for weeks or months and are threatened with violence if they resist.

But for police, it’s not just a matter of sitting back and waiting for the trafficking gangs to slip up. A more active approach is needed, Pol Maj Gen Chawalit said.

Source: Bangkok Post

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