236 HUMAN TRAFFICKING WITNESSES UNDER THAI PROTECTION
More than 200 witnesses/victims have been placed into witness protection programs in Thailand after receiving death threats and intimidating visits from criminal organizations suspected to be involved in human trafficking. Police investigations have led to members of the trafficking networks taking desperate measures to keep the witnesses quiet.
The location of the 236 witnesses/victims will remain private until the suspects are charged and the case goes to trial. 56 people have been arrested since Thailand’s anti-trafficking campaign began, and another 21 suspects are being pursued.
In just two months, police have seized assets worth over $5.9 million dollars belonging to human traffickers. Over 4 million baht (over $118,000 dollars), were seized from Thai Army General Manas Kongpaen, the highest ranking person arrested.
Many police officers, local officials, and a former president are facing human trafficking charges. “Thai officials have been implicated by rights groups as colluding with human smugglers who have been preying on migrants — many of whom are Rohingya fleeing persecution described by some human rights groups as ‘state sponsored’ in Myanmar.“
Indonesia and Malaysia have taken in most of the 7,000 Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis, but Thailand refuses to offer them housing. Their navy provides them with food and water before turning their vessels back to sea.
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Source: Andolu Agency