Trafficked migrants arrested in Mae Sot

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Police arrested 30 Burmese migrants who illegally crossed into Mae Sot yesterday, while they were in the process of being trafficked to Bangkok and central Thailand.

The Burmese nationals comprised of 15 men and 15 women, had allegedly paid human traffickers around 10,000 Baht each to hide them in a truck carrying pumpkins that was en route to central Thailand and Bangkok.

The migrants were arrested by police at a traffic checkpoint on the outskirts of Mae Sot town.

According to a Thai police officer, the migrants were found hiding underneath the pumpkins. The two Thai nationals driving the truck were arrested and later admitted that they’d been paid 10,000 Baht per person from the traffickers who were supposed to pick up the migrants at undisclosed locations in central Thailand.

Experts estimate that there may be as many as three million migrants from Burma working in Thailand, who provide crucial low-cost labour to the kingdom’s economy.

However, Burmese migrants often face regular exploitation, including extortion, workplace abuse and poor wages and lack of access to justice.

During Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Thailand in late May, the opposition leader promised to address the treatment of Burmese migrants during her meetings with Thai officials and said she was committed to improving conditions in Burma so that migrants could return home in the future.

photo (Reuters)

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