Malaysia mass graves: Is the Burmese Rohingya minority being trafficked by force?

Malaysia mass graves: Is the Burmese Rohingya minority being trafficked by force?

At the trafficking camp in northern Malaysia where at least 139 shallow graves have been discovered, a police chief said that personal possessions abandoned at the camp included a pink teddy bear and children’s sandals. If the Rohingya and Bangladeshis travelling from the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia were fleeing in search of work, why did they bring small children with them?

One explanation has emerged in Burma this week: many of those who made the journey did so against their will – tricked by middlemen, press-ganged by brokers and taken to sea by force.

Others including children were simply kidnapped. One of the missing is 16-year-old “Rayzuharnar”, who lived with her family in Dar Paing camp north of Sittwe, the capital of Burma’s Rakhine state. This is one of the state’s notorious camps for “internal displaced people” into which Muslims were herded after the communal violence of 2012.

One Friday, over a month ago, her siblings left her at home when they went to attend the local mosque. “When we came back around 4pm, she was gone,” said her brother, Marmuh Hanson, 20. She had simply vanished.

At the trafficking camp in northern Malaysia where at least 139 shallow graves have been discovered, a police chief said that personal possessions abandoned at the camp included a pink teddy bear and children’s sandals. If the Rohingya and Bangladeshis travelling from the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia were fleeing in search of work, why did they bring small children with them?

One explanation has emerged in Burma this week: many of those who made the journey did so against their will – tricked by middlemen, press-ganged by brokers and taken to sea by force.

Others including children were simply kidnapped. One of the missing is 16-year-old “Rayzuharnar”, who lived with her family in Dar Paing camp north of Sittwe, the capital of Burma’s Rakhine state. This is one of the state’s notorious camps for “internal displaced people” into which Muslims were herded after the communal violence of 2012.

One Friday, over a month ago, her siblings left her at home when they went to attend the local mosque. “When we came back around 4pm, she was gone,” said her brother, Marmuh Hanson, 20. She had simply vanished.

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