Myanmar experience long lasting civil war and many people escape to the neighboring countries to find safety life and seek to refuges. According to the International Labor Organization report in 2021, around 1.6 million people were unemployed in Myanmar following the spread of COVID 19 and the military coup, with 25 million population facing famine by the end of 2022 (Rakkanam, 2022). As a result, it has surged population of immigration, refugee along borderland. Numerous of illegal migration led to border issue and human trafficking which threating to the path of democracy in both Myanmar and Thailand. The values of freedom, respect for human rights which are the elements of democracy has been neglected.
Migration and Human Trafficking
Human trafficking and migrant smuggling are global and widespread crimes that use men and women and children for profit. The organized networks or individuals behind these lucrative crimes take advantage of people who are vulnerable, desperate or simply seeking a better life (UNODC, n.d). In the situation of needing help and seek for safety, local people can easily fall into the trap of trafficking net. People have to pay amount of money to someone help them pass the border illegally, but many of them were lied and were left in the forest. If they were arrested, they are fine or deport back to Myanmar after staying in jail. In 2022, June, Thai police arrested nearly 20000 migrants trying to cross the frontier, with discovered in life-threatening situations (Rakkanam, 2022). People have no choice as if they stay in their hometown, they have no income and pressure from widespread armed recruits. But when they fled to Thailand, they were arrested or placed in the poor working condition with unfair wage and live their life with fear. Accordint to the World Vision, due to their illegal status many Burmese men, women and children are trafficked to Thailand to work in agriculture, fishing, construction, factories, domestic work and the sex industry (World Vision, n.d). This transnational issue remains unsolved for decades and it is as a significant sign of democracy backsliding in Myanmar or Thailand. The migration issue will endure while the corruption is still a political norm and weak of transparency in the governance system.
Therefore, integration between multi-stakeholders are needed and promote public engagement and monitoring, accountability in governance system in Myanmar. Myanmar and Thailand need to reconsider the border-cross policy, law enforcement on trafficker, corruption and raise awareness of human trafficking. Government can use social media platform to educate people, nudging approach, reaching out to people in gauging their needs. Practical of 3 P’s paradigm (prosecution, protection, and prevention) in policy making and implementation are essential in order to combat human trafficking issue. Migration is a traditional dynamic which is persisting but manageable if the stakeholders are working together.
Rakkanam, P. (2022, June 17). Migration from Myanmar to Thailand surges amid fighting, Covid concerns. Benar News. https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/thai/burmese-migrants-thai-border-06162022184804.html
UNODC. (n.d.). UNODC – human trafficking and migrant smuggling. United Nations : Office on Drugs and Crime. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/human-trafficking/
World Vision Myanmar. (n.d.). Traffick report: Myanmar – World Vision. World Vision. https://www.worldvision.com.au/docs/default-source/publications/human-rights-and-trafficking/trafficking-report-myanmar.pdf?sfvrsn=4