Myanmar: 93 traffickers arrested 

An ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar and living in Malaysia, wearing a traditional Malay "songkok" prayer cap, recites prayers at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur

June 8, Yangon: The police in Myanmar arrested approximately 93 people for human trafficking offences this year according to reports on Monday.

According to reports, none of the arrests have been made from the Rakhine state, which rights groups and observers believe is  a major human trafficking hub as more and more Rohingya are fleeing for their lives every day.

Reports suggest that the Police started the crackdown on trafficking after 56 cases had been recorded between January and May, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported, citing police captain Min Naing.

The report added that police had made 93 arrests over the last five months.”Most Myanmar victims were sold into forced marriages in China and forced labor in Thailand,” the report said.

According to the report, the majority of cases were uncovered in eastern Shan state — which borders Thailand, Laos and China — followed by Mandalay and Yangon, the country’s two largest cities. “There have been no reports of human trafficking cases in… Rakhine state this year.”

The impoverished western state is a tinderbox of tension between its Buddhist majority and a heavily persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, many of whom live in displacement camps after deadly unrest erupted there in 2012.

Myanmar refuses to recognise the majority of its 1.3 million Rohingya as citizens and places a raft of restrictions on them, such as family size, movements and access to jobs.

In recent years tens of thousands of Rohingya have left, fleeing on often deadly voyages across the Bay of Bengal at the hands of ruthless people-smuggling and trafficking networks.

Recent reports show that the exodus was largely ignored until a crackdown on the people-smuggling trade in Thailand last month which caused chaos as gangmasters abandoned their human cargoes on land and sea.

Some 4,500 Rohingya and Bangladeshi economic migrants have since washed ashore in the region while the UN estimates around 2,000 others are still trapped at sea.

Myanmar has come under increasing pressure from the international community to halt the ongoing persecution of its Rohingya population.But the authorities have stuck to their line that Rohingya are not fleeing persecution.

Agencies and The Oslo Times

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