Thursday night in the coastal district of Bang Klam, Songkhla was a busy one for the local police. Two pickup trucks were stopped in the area near Chalung industrial estate, and when the tarpaulin was removed from the back of one of the vehicles, they were shocked to find 30 illegal job seekers from Myanmar crammed inside.
The Mystery of the Drivers
The drivers of the two trucks were identified as Thai nationals Thawatchai, 23 and Somjit, 29. Both of them had been employed as job brokers, with Thawatchai having been paid 9,000 baht and Somjit 3,000 baht for their services.
A third man, a job broker from Myanmar, was also arrested at the entrance of Chalung industrial estate. He revealed that he had been hired by the smugglers to take the migrants to hide in the area while awaiting another group of brokers to take them to a border area near Malaysia. He had been paid 2,000 baht for his services.
The Smuggling Syndicate
Investigations conducted by the arresting team soon uncovered the extent of the trade in illegal migrants from Myanmar. It is believed that a gang of smugglers had collected 47,000 baht from each of the migrants for the transport of them across to Malaysia.
The Human Cost of the Trade
The plight of the illegal migrants from Myanmar is a sad one. Many of them will have sold everything they own in pursuit of a better life in neighbouring countries, only to find themselves in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers who are only too willing to exploit their desperation. With the prospect of repatriation and incarceration on the horizon, they must be hoping that they will finally be free of the traffickers who have so callously treated them.
The police’s efforts to crack down on the illegal trade in migrants from Myanmar that is an ongoing problem in Songkhla has culminated in this final breakthrough. With the drivers in custody and their lives in turmoil, their actions must be seen as a warning to smugglers and job brokers who are preying on people’s hopes for a brighter future in another country.
The illegal trade in migrants from Myanmar is a concerning issue in Songkhla and the wider Southeast Asian region. It is a reminder of the human cost that smuggling gangs are inflicting on vulnerable people, who are desperate to make a better life for themselves. This arrest by the police is a positive step forward in the battle against traffickers and smugglers who are exploiting their victims.