Monday, 25 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan state: The Human Trafficking Control Department has been harassing the Rohingya community since the first week of this month, said an elder from Maungdaw.

“The Human Trafficking Control Department was established six months ago to control the trafficking of people from northern Arakan to other countries like Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, the Middle East, and India.”

“Most of the Rohingya are now going to Bangladesh, then to Malaysia or Thailand. The Rakhine are also going to Bangladesh and India by crossing the border.”

“The Rakhine, who are able to move to Rangoon or other parts of Burma, go to Thailand through Myawaddy, then to Malaysia. Some are going with international passports which are issued by the Burmese authorities.”

“In Maungdaw, the two communities [Rohingya and Rakhine] are going to Bangladesh or India for short time or long time, but the trafficking control department is only asking questions of the the Rohingya community,” said a trader who works on the border.

“The department is now calling the Rohingya community to their office in Myoma Kyayoungdan, where the authorities ask the villagers to give money for their family members who have gone to other countries.”

“The police head, Inspector Aung Myint Kyi, leads the department and asks for huge money from Rohingya families whose family members have gone to other countries since five-to-ten years before. The removing of family member happens when the authorities check the family lists every six months.”

“It is not easy for Rohingya community members to remove a member from their family’s list at the time of checking the list. The community has to pay a lot of money to the checking operation group.”

“Now, the trafficking control department is going to call the Rohingyas who have a member or two of their family in other countries, even if the member was already removed from the family list. They are asking from 150,000 to 10,000,000 kyat depending on the status of the family,” said a village administration member from Myoma Kyayoungdan Village.

“If anyone isn’t able to pay the demanded money, he will be kept in the stocks until he has paid.”