Reports have surfaced that Thailand immigration officials secretly supply Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings. Hundreds of men have been sold by Thai officials to human traffickers, also known as slavery, who apparently force them into brutal jungle camps. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing the country in order to try to escape religious persecution. A recent investigation uncovered that there was an objective initiated with the goal of removing Rohingya refugees from various Thai immigration detention centers and then delivering them to numerous human traffickers who would be waiting at sea: “solving the immigration problem.”
The refugees are commonly held in gulag-themed camps which are hidden near the border of Malaysia, and family members have the option of paying thousands of dollars in order to get them released. At least three camps have been located and it’s uncertain how many have lost their lives there. Thai authorities brush off assertions that the movement of Rohingya Muslims through their country amounts to human trafficking. However, Thai Royal Police have acknowledge an “option two” policy which aims to use human-trafficking networks in order to get rid Thailand of Rohingya detainees.
One Thai-based smuggler said that some of the refugees are sold to shipping companies and farms for manual laborers, they are priced according to their skills, he claims. Several individuals that claim to have escaped from the camps, insist that they had to endure multiple beatings, starvation, and other terrible conditions. It may even appear that the camps are being used to sequester and exploit others beyond the Rohingya as well, with 200 Turkish refugees recently discovered in such a camp.
Thailand’s second-highest ranking policeman, Maj-Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit, Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police, has also alluded to the fact that government officials may have also profited from the smuggling and human trafficking rings. He has also confirmed the existence of the illegal camps and referred to them as holding bays.
At least 4 people have been killed this week in the capital after recent protests which have been going on since roughly 2006 after Yingluck’s brother was ousted by a military coup over accusations of corruption and abuse of power. The Thai Prime Minister had previously made claims about dissolving the government following an increase in public upset, with thousands taking to the streets to express their outrage and discontent with the current administration. In late December, 2013, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was forced to abandon her government offices because the protesters had blocked major Bangkok intersections since mid-January. The violence erupted again this week, resulting in several deaths, after police had moved into several locations around the city in order to detain and remove protesters who have been camped out for weeks to call for Yingluck’s resignation.