Mass graves in Thailand
THERE are no words to describe our outrage at the tales of horror of mass graves, detention and torture of migrants in the jungles of Thailand. At least 32 mass graves of victims of trafficking from Bangladesh and Myanmar were found two days ago in an abandoned jungle in southern Thailand, and another 50 graves were discovered yesterday in another camp. It's suspected that there are more buried bodies scattered along the Thailand-Malaysia border. These graves are a testament to the harrowing experiences of victims of trafficking, who are forced to live -- and die -- in inhumane conditions, when their families fail to provide ransoms demanded by transnational human traffickers.
According to a report by The Daily Star, at least 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis have been held captive in Thailand over the last eight years and crores of taka have been taken from their impoverished families. The diabolical manner in which such a vast number of vulnerable people are trafficked and abused is, indeed, alarming. These groups who prey on naïve villagers on the borders of Bangladesh must be identified and brought to justice through systematic raids. However, it is reported that the groups in both Bangladesh and Thailand are so organised and well-connected that raids do not always have the expected results.
The issue of human trafficking is a regional concern, and must be addressed through cooperation between the three countries involved – Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. A comprehensive regional intervention is needed to stop this slave trade, and SAARC and ASEAN, along with the IOM, must make it a priority concern. Meanwhile, mass awareness campaigns need to be undertaken in the border areas to warn unsuspecting people of the threats posed by human traffickers.