Trafficked migrants rescued in South
20 Myanmar workers abandoned two months earlier by agent amid Covid travel curbs
published : 16 May 2020 at 15:33
Twenty trafficked migrants from Myanmar who were stranded at the Thailand-Malaysia border for two months have been rescued, according to the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok.
The workers had languished in one room after a labour agent, who had promised them jobs in Malaysia, abandoned them in the face of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Voice of America reported.
When the embassy received a call from the group, none of the migrants knew where they were. The embassy requested assistance from the Thai military, U Sai Aye, an interpreter at the embassy, told the VoA Burmese service.
The Thai military, with the help of immigration police, rescued the group in the border town of Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat, according to Sai Aye. The victims were then handed over to Myanmar authorities for repatriation.
The labour agent had charged each of the migrants 1 million kyats (23,000 baht) and promised to take them from Myanmar to Malaysia via Bangkok, according to Sai Aye. The agent told the victims they did not need passports for the trip, which was routed through illegal border crossings.
When all border crossings became difficult because of heightened security designed to contain the spread of Covid-19, the agent abandoned the group, the embassy official said.
The group eventually managed to contact the embassy, which gave the GPS information from their call to the Thai military.
There is no information on the agent’s whereabouts.