Reports of the terrible conditions of human trafficking camps are coming out now:
Malaysian authorities said Monday a cluster of abandoned jungle camps used by human traffickers contained 139 suspected graves as well as barbed-wire pens probably used to cage migrants, shedding more light on a regional trade that preyed on some of Southeast Asia’s most desperate people.
National police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar said forensics experts were exhuming the suspected graves found at 28 vacated camps in the hilly jungle area on the border with Thailand where trafficking syndicates were known to operate.
‘‘It is a very sad scene,’’ Khalid said at a police outpost in the town of Wang Kelian several miles from the camps, one of which appeared large enough to hold about 300 people. ‘‘I am shocked. We never expected this kind of cruelty.’’
And here’s news from Thailand with one of the earlier discovery of these camps:
Police General Aek Angsananont, deputy commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police, told reporters authorities had known about the camp’s existence for a while.
“We heard news about this camp and tried to find it many times but because it was deep jungle, it was very difficult,” he said. He said police believed the deaths were due to “a disagreement within the human trafficking trade.”
Given that this has been going on for years which is why both Thailand and Malaysia were put into Tier 3 (the worst) in the trafficking report by the US State Department, you should imagine both of these countries reactions like this:
Of course this is not to excuse Myanmar (or Burma)who have treated the Rohingya so badly:
The dramatic surge in boat people leaving western Burma and Bangladesh has its roots in decades of repression and denial of rights to the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority. In 1978, the Burmese army staged a military operation that drove over 250,000 Rohingya into neighboring Bangladesh, who forcibly returned many of them soon afterward.
The Rohingya have been denied full citizenship rights because the discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law made it almost impossible for Rohingya to prove their claims to citizenship. In 1991, Burmese security forces again violently expelled hundreds of thousands of Rohingya into Bangladesh. In 1995, Bangladesh forcibly returned many Rohingya to Burma, where they have lived predominantly in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships along the border, under restrictive conditions that severely curtail their freedom of movement, ability to seek work, and access to basic social services, and curbs on the right to religion. The Burma government has refused to accept the term “Rohingya” and refers to them as “illegal Bengalis.”
In Bangladesh, there are approximately 30,000 recognized Rohingya refugees in UNHCR-run camps who arrived in Bangladesh before 1993. Since that time, Rohingya have not had any opportunity to lodge claims in Bangladesh for refugee status regardless of their need for international protection. Consequently, another estimated 30,000 who are not recognized refugees live in makeshift sites around these camps near Teknaf in Cox’s Bazaar, and another 250,000 to 300,000 undocumented Rohingya live around the area. Those outside the UNHCR-run camp often face abuse and discrimination from local Bangladesh officials and communities.
It has set up this disaster.