Illegal immigrants fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh were met with violence, as they were captured in a human trafficking ring in Thailand. At least 30 bodies were found at the former human trafficking camp deep in the jungle of Southern Thailand, many of which were locked in bamboo cages and left to die after smugglers abandoned the area. Miraculously, one male captive was found alive among the deceased. However, officials say the man is “very sick” and is currently in the hospital.
CNN reports that Thai police were alerted to the possible human smuggling camp when a suspect tipped them off about the location. Police say they had suspicion of a camp in the area, but were never able to find it because of the location deep within the jungle.
“We heard news about this camp and tried to find it many times but because it was deep jungle, it was very difficult.”
However, after the latest tip, police found the camp and discovered dozens of shallow graves. Officials say that at least 30 bodies have been exhumed and more are expected to be found as the efforts to dig up the mass grave site continue. However, not all was lost. A single male survivor was found within the camp and taken in for medical treatment. The man is “very sick” but was alive when found hidden deep within the Thailand jungle, left to die by his captors.
According to the Daily Mail, many of the people buried in the shallow graves died a “violent death“, though means of death was not given in full detail. However, it was noted that the sick and elderly were often left trapped within bamboo cages and abandoned to die when smugglers left the camp.
The police say that it appears the camp was abandoned after a “disagreement” between those in the human trafficking trade. Those investigating and exhuming bodies noted that the area surrounding the camp was strewn with clothing and personal items that belonged to the captives. However, they claim it will take a long time to identify the bodies of the victims as family members will have to travel from Myanmar and Bangladesh to provide DNA samples.
Human Rights Watch has now called for an independent investigation headed by the UN to find out exactly what took place there. Director Brad Adams says he wants the Thai government to work harder to shut down the human trafficking networks in the region.
“The discovery of these mass graves should shock the Thai government into shutting down the trafficking networks that enrich officials but prey on extremely vulnerable people.”
[Image Credit: Flickr/ Evangelicas]