Thailand: Human trafficking of Rohingya widespread

Thailand: Human trafficking of Rohingya widespread 24 February 2014

HT1

IGO urges Thai authorities to investigate claims of human trafficking on its territory and to comply with its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which strictly prohibits human trafficking.

Dozens of Rohingya were freed from the hands of Thai human traffickers who were detained under extremely poor living conditions and were suffering from poor health conditions.

The rescued Rohingya are reportedly suffering from skin disease, shortness of breath, weakness and stiffness in the joints. They are temporarily being treated at a registered shelter in Thailand, but according to a secret policy implemented by Thailand they will be deported back to Burma soon.

There are fears of more Rohingya being victims of human trafficking and awaiting rescue. Rohingya fall prey to human traffickers when they flee the violence in Burma in hopes of finding a better life.

Thai authorities put Rohingya men in overcrowded immigration detention facilities across the country. Women and children are sent to shelters operated by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. As a result, in a number of cases, families have been split up. This makes Rohingya desperate to reunite with their families, which results in Rohingya-Thai human trafficking gangs taking advantage of their vulnerability.

Thai government has denied allegations of human trafficking on its territory despite confirmation by a number of media sources and international bodies on the involvement of some Thai officials in the trafficking process.

IGO fears that freed Rohingya may end up back in the clutches of regional smuggling networks they had escaped from and calls on the Thai government to review its policies on Rohingya refugees and improve the conditions of their detention facilities.