Thursday, April 2, 2015

How does one say “plus ca change” in Thai and Bahasa?

Well, In January the Thai Embassy in Washington was reporting on arrests made in the trafficking of Rohingya to be sold as slaves on fishing boats.



Thailand Focus January 26th, 2015: Arrests in trafficking Rohingya and men to fishing boats

January 26, 2015   Thailand Focus e-newsletter

Good for them . . . but apparently the global attention span doesn’t last longer than 8 weeks.  And we certainly haven’t heard any news regarding the Indonesia and Thai governments’ weeks-long investigation and crackdown on the Myanmar slave trade.  Otherwise, the stories of the past few days would include phrases like “despite massive investigations and lawsuits since 2009” and “Indonesian and Thai officials point to the hundreds of slaves they have freed since January” and “most Thai fishing boats involved in the slave trade are no longer in business, thanks to the speedy attention paid by both governments, the adequate resources placed in the appropriate departments, and the heartwarming transparency and lack of corruption involved in prosecuting the offenders.” 


And to us, waking up from our comfortable naps, it’s all new, all over again.


AND, while I’m at it: why do these current articles not mention any thought, stance, statement or activity now being undertaken by Myanmar?  Not a gasp of disbelief?  A cry of anguish?  An acknowledgement of the enormous amount of work to be done to make life bearable within the country of people who believe they have to leave it to survive?


That’s all we here from Myanmar: crickets.



Read the story below:


Thailand Focus January 26th, 2015: Arrests in trafficking Rohingya and men to fishing boats

The Department of Special Investigation arrested two Thai men last week for luring other Thai men to work on fishing boats where they were subjected to forced labor and abuse, while police in southern Thailand arrested a man allegedly involved in the trafficking of nearly 100 Rohingya migrants from Myanmar.  
The arrests were part of a crackdown on traffickers by the police, an essential component of the government’s wide-ranging response to the human trafficking problem.   
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, meanwhile, launched a campaign to solve the problem of street beggars, who are often victims of traffickers.  Police will provide protection to beggars who have fallen into the hands of trafficking gangs, while attempting to break up the gangs themselves.  The ministry also organized a meeting to coordinate anti-trafficking measures in Chonburi province on the Eastern Seaboard. 

At a press conference last week in Bangkok, Department of Special Investigations chief Suwana Suwannajutha said her agency had arrested two of three suspects – middleman Montri Makkhapol, 53, and fishing boat captain Pamon Chanto, 52 –in Samut Sakhon province for luring Thai men into slave-like conditions aboard Thai fishing trawlers in Indonesian waters.  A third suspect is on the run, she said.
Their victims included adults and minors who were lured with promises of well-paying jobs only to find themselves subjected to forced labor and assaults. The DSI said it was enlisting the help of the Anti-Money Laundering Office to seize the assets of the suspects.
Police in Phangnga province also arrested the third of five drivers who were transporting 98 ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar through Thailand to be delivered to traffickers in Malaysia.  The trucks filled with Rohingya were discovered at a checkpoint on January 11 and two drivers were arrested at that time.  Two more drivers are still at large.  
Meanwhile, hospitals along Thailand’s border with Myanmar said they need more financial support for the care and services they are providing to migrants and stateless people.  Huge numbers of migrants from Myanmar regularly make their way across Thailand’s long and porous borders with its western neighbor in search of better economic opportunities or fleeing conflicts.
According to some estimates, as many as two million migrants from Myanmar are living and working in Thailand, and many of these are illegal.  But the Thai government has been working to register all migrants and legalize their status.

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