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In Malaysia, mass graves of trafficking victims found

Since May 10 alone, more than 3,600 people - about half of them from Bangladesh and half Rohingya from Myanmar — have landed ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.   | Photo Credit: Gemunu Amarasinghe

Malaysian authorities said on Sunday that they have discovered a series of graves in at least 17 abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar have been held.

The finding follows a similar discovery earlier this month by police in Thailand who unearthed dozens of bodies from shallow graves in abandoned camps on the Thai side of the border. The grim discoveries are shedding new light on the hidden network of jungle camps run by traffickers, who have for years held countless desperate people captive while extorting ransoms from their families.

Most of those who have fallen victim to the trafficking networks are refugees and impoverished migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, part of a wave of people who have fled their homelands to reach countries like Malaysia, where they hope to find work or live free from persecution.

As Southeast Asian governments have launched crackdowns amid intensified international pressure and media scrutiny, traffickers have abandoned camps on land and even boats at sea to avoid arrest.

Malaysian Home Minister Zahid Hamidi told reporters that police were trying to identify and verify “mass graves that were found” in the region near the Thai border.

Since May 10 alone, more than 3,600 people - about half of them from Bangladesh and half Rohingya from Myanmar — have landed ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Thousands more are believed to be trapped at sea in boats abandoned by their captains.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 9:44:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/in-malaysia-mass-graves-of-trafficking-victims-found/article7241715.ece

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