07/22/2019, 11.50
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2019 black year for human trafficking in Thailand

Negative record freveals peak in trafficking in human lives fueled by demand for cheap labor in neighboring Malaysia. Since the beginning of the year the police have rescued 974 people, already surpassing the 622 of 2018. UN: in Thailand there are about 4.9 million migrants, who make up more than 10% of the workforce.



Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The number of victims of human trafficking rescued by the Thai authorities is about to reach a record number this year. The confirmation comes from the latest data released by the Bangkok government, according to which there is a demand for cheap labor in neighboring Malaysia behind the peak in traffic, which ends up fueling the phenomenon.

According to official statistics released last week by the  Thai anti-trafficking department, since the beginning of the current year the police have rescued 974 victims of human trafficking, most of them from Myanmar. A number already far greater than the total total of 622 recorded last year and not far from the 982 peak of 2015.

In recent years, Thailand has come under the magnifying lens of the major international agencies and pro-human rights organizations for phenomena related to trafficking and enslavement, especially in the fisheries sector and in the sex market. "There is a great possibility - underlines the deputy commander of the Thai anti-trafficking division Mana Kleebsattabudh - that the figures will reach a record level this year. Many of the victims we help tell us they wanted to go to Malaysia for a job ".

According to UN sources, today in Thailand there are about 4.9 million migrants, who make up more than 10% of the nation's workforce. Most of them come from poor countries in the area, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Kleebsattabudh stresses that most of the victims rescued by the authorities have been hired by intermediaries and agencies for a sum ranging between 20 thousand and 30 thousand baht (between 650 and 975 US dollars). Men and women end up working in poor conditions in the industries of neighboring Malaysia. Many of the victims were rescued as they were transported to the south of the country, near the border.

"What we see - continues the police colonel - is that these people are segregated in very bad conditions in forests and shacks far from  communities, confirming the evil intentions of those holding them". The most important thing, adds the expert, is that "the victims do not consider themselves deceived and often endure the difficulties to reach their destination".

The deputy commander of the Thai anti-trafficking division says that the peak of the arrests could lead to an increase in smugglers and traffickers, who use alternative sea routes which reduce the risk of being caught by the police, as well as being more economic. The most recent case dates back to 11 June, when a fishing boat carrying at least 70 Rohingya Muslims was discovered after being stranded on the southern island of Koh Lipe.

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