Thailand to return 700 human-trafficking victims

Thailand’s government will send back to Myanmar some 700 victims of human trafficking who have been held in rehabilitation shelters after an identification process, Myanmar and Thai government officials said on Thursday. 

The officials announced the plan at a press conference after the 23rd Myanmar-Thailand Case Management Meeting on the Return and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking at a hotel in Yangon.

“We are transferring back trafficked victims whose court hearings are over and those who have been confirmed as citizens of their native country. We will transfer them in two or three batches over the course of a year,” said Sunee Srisangatrakullert, director of Thailand’s Division of Anti-Trafficking in Persons.

Sunee said people trafficked to Thailand usually fall into three categories – forced labour, those forced to beg, and women forced into prostitution – and the number of victims from Myanmar has been higher than those from Laos or Cambodia over the past two years.

There about 700 trafficking victims from Myanmar in Thai rehabilitation shelters.

“Of the number, some 600 are presumed to be Myanmar citizens. We will bring home those who have been confirmed as our citizens,” said Ma Khine Su Lwin, assistant director of Myanmar’s Department of Rehabilitation.

Thailand will also return illegal workers from Myanmar caught while trying to transit the country without proper documents to enter Malaysia. Under an agreement between the two countries, the illegal workers will be sent home without having to spend time in jail.

Myanmar and Thailand hold meetings once every six months to address the transfer of trafficking victims in the shortest time possible and protection of their rights.

Up to 20,000 Myanmar workers enter Thailand legally every month for work under an agreement between the two countries. However, an unknown number enter or pass through the country illegally.

Written by Zaw Zaw Htwe
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 13 August 2019

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