The Malaysian home ministry has denied claims that the country has trafficking camps of immigrants similar to those in Thailand after a mass grave was uncovered in the southern region of the neighbouring country.
The Star on Friday reported Abdul Kalam, former president of the Rohingya club in Thailand, as claiming that 80 percent of the camps, where Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are detained by their traffickers, are located in Malaysia.
“Based on investigations, there was no discovery of camps or graves of illegal Rohingya immigrants in Malaysia’s area,” local daily The Star quoted the home ministry’s Secretary-General Datuk Alwi Ibrahim as saying in a statement today.
The home ministry official also reportedly said the problem was more of the smuggling of migrant workers than human trafficking, claiming that most illegal immigrants, including the Rohingyas, pay the syndicates to smuggle them to Malaysia through Thailand, themalaymailonline reports.
“They did it of their own accord and they are not human trafficking victims,” Alwi was quoted as saying.
The local paper also reported that Thai and Malaysian police are scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss human trafficking.
Bangladesh-based newspaper The Daily Star said last Monday that at least 250,000 Bangladeshis have been held in the jungles of Thailand for ransom over the past eight years, squeezing their families of anything between Tk 200,000 to Tk 350,000 for each captive.
The Daily Star’s report came after Thai authorities exhumed recently 26 bodies, believed to be of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, from a mass grave in the southern province of Songkhla.