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article imageThailand promises reform after mass graves found

By Brian Booker     May 8, 2015 in World
At least 50 Thai police officers have been punished due to suspected participation in human trafficking. The move comes after some 32 bodies were found at an alleged trafficking camp near the Malaysian border.
The deceased are believed to be from Myanmar and Bangladesh. Immigrants from poorer countries across Asia often head to Malaysia in search of higher wages and better living standards.
One of the most commonly smuggled groups, Rohinghya Muslims from Myanmar, have been forced to flee their homes due to religious and political persecution. As a Muslim country, Malaysia offers an attractive destination.
While Malaysia is a middle-income country rather than a fully-developed country, wages are much higher compared to many neighboring countries. The nominal GDP per capita in Malaysia weighs in at $10,800, for example, while in nearby Bangladesh it falls just shy of $1,200.
Unfortunately, many immigrants never make it to their destination, or once they arrive they may find themselves enslaved, or forced into indentured servitude. Some are also forced into sex work.
The paths to Malaysia are dangerous. As illegal immigrants generally try to avoid authorities, they often hike through jungles and down less traveled paths. This leaves them open to many dangers, and often the immigrants even find themselves being held hostage by their guides.
Following international uproar over the recent discovery of mass graves in two trafficking camps, Thai authorities have vowed to crackdown on human trafficking, and to clean up the nation's police force, and any other government entities that might be participating in or turning a blind eye to trafficking.
The punishment, however, appears to be rather light, with the 50 plus officers being transferred to different areas. Breaking up local connections and moving the officers away from the borders could help temporarily. Without addressing the underlying systemic issues, however, Thai authorities will have difficulty eliminating the corruption and complicit support given by legal authorities towards organized crime.
More about Human trafficking, Corruption, Mass graves
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