Phuket Still Linked to Slavery and Trafficking

TOURISTS who visit Phuket, and most of the island’s residents, are unaware that the whole Andaman coast stretching down from Burma experiences people-smuggling in all its brutality.

Indeed, Phuket gains a special mention in a new booklet, Ten Things You Need to Know About Human Trafficking.

The booklet was launched today across mainland South-East Asia because June 12 marks the tenth anniversary of an international convention designed to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.But insidious forms of modern slavery and predatory behavior towards the young and powerless persist.

Two strong new points are made in the booklet: young males as well as females are ”sold”; and disabled, diadvantaged people are extremely useful in begging syndicates.

Here’s how Phuket figures in the booklet:

‘In April 2008, 54 Myanmarese people, mostly women, suffocated while being smuggled on a container truck across the Thai border and on to Phuket. The illegal immigrants had boarded the truck voluntarily on the promise of work opportunities in Thailand.

‘Later interviews revealed that they had paid around 5000 baht each (approx US$150) for the arrangement, but had almost no understanding of the conditions in which they would be travelling or what they would be doing on arrival.

‘The truck was filled to capacity, the victims standing, when the air conditioning broke down and the air began to run out.

”We contacted the driver using a mobile phone, but he told us in Burmese to keep quiet and make no trouble,” one survivor told the Bangkok Post newspaper. ”He switched off the phone and drove on.” continue

Mizos call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi

by Salai Pi Pi
Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:39

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Scores of Mizo and Burmese activists on Thursday held a sit-in protest in Aizawl, capital of India’s northeastern state of Mizoram, calling for the release of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

With banners declaring ‘Mizoram for Aung San Suu Kyi’ the protestors held a one-hour demonstration at Aizawl’s Temple Square. The protestors expressed concern for the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, who is currently facing a trial under charges stemming from the trespassing of an American man into her home in early May.

“We want the Burmese junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi, that is the main purpose of today’s demonstration,” said Ruata, Secretary of the Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma (MCDB), the group that organized the protest.

The sit-in demonstration, in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy in Burma, is the second such action organized by MCDB, which was formed in October 2007 following the junta’s crackdown on the Saffron Revolution.

Speaking to Mizzima, Ruata said the organization will also send a letter to India’s President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, and Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, through the Mizoram government, urging them to do everything India can in order to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, past recipient of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. Continue reading “Mizos call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi”

Police Chief says Suu Kyi tardy in contacting authorities

by Mizzima News
Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:51

New Delhi (mizzima) – Burma’s Chief of Police, Khin Yi, on Thursday accused opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for having not adequately informed police of the details of the first visit by American John William Yettaw, who is currently standing trial for his visits to the detained pro-democracy leader’s Rangoon residence.
police-khin-yi Khin Yi, during a rare press briefing at the Drug Elimination Museum in Rangoon’s Kamayut Township, told journalists and diplomats that the detained Nobel Peace Laureate had not informed concerned authorities in a timely manner as to the details of the first visit by Yettaw in November 2008.

As National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi only informed the authorities of the visit four days after the event on December 4, 2008, it was difficult for authorities to trace the incident and thus hampered attempts to uncover the truth, Khin Yi added.

Rejecting rumors that the accused suffers from a mental illness, Khin Yi said Yettaw is instead a highly intellectual person.

Aung San Suu Kyi, on trial in Insein prison along with Yettaw and two live-in party members, is charged with breaching her detention regulations by accepting Yettaw, who allegedly swam approximately two kilometers across Inya Lake, into her home and providing him with food and shelter. If found guilty, she could face up to five years imprisonment.

But the pro-democracy leader has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges, saying the security around her home is instead responsible for the break-in.

Khin Yi, during the briefing, said the government believes that Yettaw’s visit was pre-planned by a group working behind the scenes, but failed to identify the group, saying only that authorities are still working on the case.

But opposition groups have in turn accused the junta of using the incident as a pretext to continue detaining the Nobel Peace Laureate in order to keep her out of the public realm in the run-up to the planned 2010 general election.


The Thai Ministry of Labour, and some NGOs held a National Conference on Labour Migration in the Amari Watergate Hotel, in Bangkok, on the 17th of June, 2009 to discuss new migrant registration and employment law enforcement.

The Thai Ministry of Labour, and some NGOs held a National Conference on Labour Migration in the Amari Watergate Hotel, in Bangkok, on the 17th of June, 2009 to discuss new migrant registration and employment law enforcement.
In the conference, the ministry and agencies discussed the final registration of migrant workers from Burma, Laos and Cambodia, who are currently working in Thailand. They also discussed rules, regulations and law enforcement measures for both employers and employees. They also discussed detailed procedures of registration, the name of sectors in which the migrants are allowed to work and the classification of colour coded work permit cards according to different sectors.
Then the ministry assigned duties for Thai security forces such as the army, navy and national security forces to prevent the further influx of migrant workers in Thailand and how to arrest them. It enforced the responsibilities of the respective agencies to strictly prosecute the employers who break the enforced laws.
Ms. Po Po, the deputy director of Grassroots-HRE, who attended the conference, had the following to say regarding the new law enforcement on migrant workers:
“In my opinion, issuing work permit cards and arresting them will not prevent the influx of migrant workers into Thailand. Despite the arrests, they will continue to stay in Thailand as long as the Burmese regime continues to oppress its people in our country. We don’t have freedom. Also, the country’s economy has been in great decline and, as a consequence, the citizens become not only migrant workers but also refugees. They move to Thailand to stay and work to earn more money. The migrant workers will keep on flowing into Thailand regardless of Thai authorities issuing the statement to arrest the workers and deport them.
The Thai government has announced that over 1.8 million migrant workers are currently working in Thailand and only 500, 000 of which have been registered at the Ministry of Labour. The Thai government has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with neighbouring countries establishing mechanisms to allow foreigners to migrate legally into its territory and it has decided to proceed with a final registration round July to allow irregular migrants to stay and work in Thailand. The Thai government has also announced that it will arrest and prosecute those who haven’t registered and only those who have the working registration document will be allowed to stay in Thailand until 28th February, 2010.