Advertisement

Thailand indicts over 100 in human trafficking roundup

The sweeping arrests come as international attention is focused on human trafficking in southeast Asia.

By Ed Adamczyk
Thailand indicts over 100 in human trafficking roundup
Displaced ethnic Rohingya are at the heart of a human trafficking investigation in Thailand which resulted in over 100 indictments Friday. Photo courtesy of U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office/ Flickr.

BANGKOK, July 24 (UPI) -- Thailand announced 72 human trafficking suspects, one a Thai army general, in custody Friday, and warrants issued for 45 more.

All will face charges which include human trafficking, involvement in transnational crime and aiding illegal entry of aliens, Wanchai Roujanavong, spokesman for the Attorney General's office, said Friday.

Advertisement

The investigation netted 15 Thai government officials, including Lt. Gen. Manas Kongpaen, and came after 36 bodies, likely Rohingya Muslim migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were exhumed from jungle transit camps along the Thailand-Malaysia border earlier in 2015. The discovery brought the movement of migrants in southeast Asia, abetted by smugglers and other cooperating agents, to international attention. Human rights activists have long accused Thai officials of collusion in human trafficking.

"We will indict all 72 people who have been arrested. For those people still on the run overseas we will work with national police to send them back, according to extradition treaties," Wanchai said. No bail will be granted the suspects.

Announcement of the indictment comes days before the United States is expected to release its annual report on human trafficking, and several months after a Bangkok summit conference on trafficking in which 17 nations participated. While there was no consensus, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to continue offering shelter and assistance to migrants who arrived in those countries. Myanmar's participation demanded the word "Rohingya" not be used; it regards the ethnic minority as Bangladeshi foreigners.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement