Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (BBN)-Human trafficking is one of the most lucrative black markets around, even rivaling the drug trafficking market, says local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Project Liber8.
According to the organisation, human trafficking syndicates have been taking advantage of vulnerable masses by playing up the illusions of a better life abroad, trapping them into a life of slavery, reports The Rakyat Post.
“It is not a problem that one country can solve alone, but requires cooperation as a region.
“In today’s discussion, it is our hope that the conversation will be carried on bearing in mind that the solution lies behind a united front; and behind the interests of individual ‘countries’ are collective interests of individuals who deserve as much human dignity and rights as one and other,” it said on behalf of Young South East Asian leaders Initiative (YSEALI) during a regional meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean at Bangkok on Friday.
The organisation suggested that in the long term, pathways to tackle reparation of refugees in Asean countries should be created while regulations and investigation into human trafficking activities strengthened, while appreciating the continued collaboration efforts between Asean member countries and those outside them.
“As part of the YSEALI, we look into eradicating human trafficking by organising various campaigns at a community level.
“Our hope is the way forward would be recognising that every human is born equal regardless of race, religion, belief, economic or social background.”
The organisation also quoted the Irregular Maritime Movements report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) earlier this month which stated that an estimated 25,000 people have departed irregularly by sea from the Bay of Bengal in the first quarter of 2015 alone.
In that, 300 were estimated to have died along the way, and it was also reported that the journey from Bangladesh to Malaysia alone was estimated to have generated a staggering US$100 million (RM364.5 million) in 2014.
“The report was followed shortly by the ghastly discovery of the shallow graves in the smuggler’s camp near the Thai-Malaysian border, believed to be connected to the events of the abandoned ship at the Indian Ocean.
“A single snapshot depicting the desperation the Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded in the middle of the sea was enough to shake the conscience of the world.
“However, the picture shows us only a page in a harrowing story that has been going on far too long,” the NGO added.