Thousands flee Thailand as military cracks down on illegal labor
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/16/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Cambodia are crossing the Thai-Cambodian border back into Cambodia, as the military junta that took control of Thailand back on May 22 intensifies its enforcement of the country's formerly lax illegal labor measures.
Thailand's military, which ceased power in a coup on May 22, has been cracking down on illegal labor.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Thai military's ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) stated that the Cambodians are leaving of their own accord and said 60,000 had crossed the border back into Cambodia. It says that there are 90,000 illegals in Thailand.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 100,000 Cambodians have left since the military's coup.
The illegal foreign laborers, primarily from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, are key to Thailand's primarily construction, manufacturing, and fishery industries, performing jobs many Thais don't want to do.
The IOM is concerned that this many immigrants flooding back into their home countries could overburden the already financially strained nations that these immigrants flee from.
"[The military] seem very efficient. To our knowledge, nobody is being hurt, but one worry is there is no free water and food," the IOM's Joe Lowry said in an interview with Reuters.
"Many are going back to villages with no jobs and will be a strain to their local community."
The Thai government has tried to tighten regulations and screen those who cross the country's porous borders, but bureaucratic red tape and police corruption have caused the severe lack of progress.
Many of these Cambodians fear a military crackdown, leaving steady jobs for an uncertain future back home.
"I'm too scared so I won't come back," said Chok Kamchai, a 27-year-old who worked as a market deliveryman in the Samut Prakarn province in the fringes of Bangkok.
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