Burma Times Correspondent: October 8, 2015
Human traffickers are collecting migrants especially from villages of Maungdaw South centred around the coastal areas of Hashurata from where a ship is scheduled to leave in a few more days.
This time, the people who are communicating with the migrants are not hardened traffickers, but new faces who had just shifted from agricultural work to a life in crime, says local sources. They say because of negative media coverage and the increasing awareness of the tortures migrants face, there is a tendency not to trust the seasoned traffickers this season. But instead, the traffickers have hired facilitators among the general populace who are trying to convince other Rohingyas there is no risk of torture or deceit on the boat journeys.
The traffickers are telling the passengers they will be transferred into Malaysia without passing through the overland route of Thailand and thus will not have to suffer in the jungle camps anymore.
Starting from May, Thailand has launched an unprecedented crackdown against traffickers after the discovery of mass graves. The Thai crackdown stopped the trafficking syndicates and stranded hundreds of Rohingyas in the high seas creating an international uproar.
But even earlier, traffickers have devised ways of taking passengers into Malaysia without going into Thailand. Passengers are herded in huge ships and then transported into Malaysia in small boats.
Analyst’s also say traffickers are likely to test the waters by transporting small groups of boat people and follow up with bigger ‘cargo’ if the initial journeys prove successful.