It is estimated that over two million Burmese refugees live in Thailand, many on the island of Phuket. Many are trafficked over the northern Thai/Burma border illegally with a promise of a better life, only to find themselves locked in a vicious circle of poverty and debt. Many arrive without proper documentation or their passports and identity cards are stolen and sold for profit by the trafficker. This keeps the refugees illegal and leaves them stuck in an "ownership" situation so they’re unable to return to Myanmar, making them vulnerable to bribe situations by the police. The majority of migrants are forced into grueling labor on construction sites or out to sea on rickety fishing boats. They earn menial wages with no health care for their families, while owing a portion of their salaries to the traffickers who brought them into Thailand. While the men and women work under abysmal conditions in construction and fishing camps for less than $180 a month, many of their children are forced into prostitution or sold into the ubuitous Thai sex trafficking industry. The question is now that Aung San Suu Kyi has the return of her freedom and her voice is there newfound hope for the two million refugees that are unable to return to their homeland, for they too are hoping to be free.

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It is estimated that over two million Burmese refugees live in Thailand, many on the island of Phuket. Many are trafficked over the northern Thai/Burma border illegally with a promise of a better life, only to find themselves locked in a vicious circle of poverty and debt. Many arrive without proper documentation or their passports and identity cards are stolen and sold for profit by the trafficker. This keeps the refugees illegal and leaves them stuck in an "ownership" situation so...
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  • Date: 1 Feb 2013
  • Location: Phuket Thailand
  • Filename: 11_Thailand_Burma_36393.jpg
  • Image size: 1280x852 pixels