France 24 | 4 October 2018

A “mafia” of recruitment agents is trapping Myanmar migrants to Thailand in debt bondage despite a 2017 law meant to fight exploitation in the kingdom’s notoriously shadowy job market, activists and workers say.

The Myanmar brokers — or their sub-agents — scour rural villages for workers and transfer all the extra costs to them, leaving migrants trapped in “debt bondage” as they struggle to pay the exorbitant fees, says migrant labour specialist Andy Hall.

Thai and Myanmar agents collaborate as “a real mafia that makes a lot of money on the backs of migrant workers”, explains Aung Kyaw, president of the Migrant Workers Rights Network in Thailand, which acts as a de facto union.



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