US investigating Malaysian government officials about human trafficking

I don’t know how, but suspect that somehow, this story ties into what is going on in Thailand with the Rohingya boat men from Burma (Myanmar).    The Democratically controlled  US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is investigating the Muslim country of Malaysia about the possibility that government officials are trafficking in refugees. 

Here is the gist of the story from AFP:

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Senate is investigating allegations that officials in Malaysia were extorting money from foreign migrants and were linked to human trafficking, American officials said.

The migrants, mostly from military-ruled Myanmar but also from other countries, were allegedly taken by the government officials to the border between Malaysia and Thailand, where they were extorted or sold to human trafficking syndicates.

The probe is being conducted by the US Senate foreign relations committee and the findings will be relayed to key US enforcement agencies and Interpol for possible action, Senate officials said.

“US Senate foreign relations committee staff are reviewing reports of extortion and human trafficking from Burmese and other migrants in Malaysia, allegedly at the hands of Malaysia government officials,” a committee staff member told AFP. Myanmar’s previous name was Burma.

“The allegations include assertions that Burmese and other migrants — whether or not they have UNHCR documentation — are taken from Malaysian government detention facilities and transported to the Thailand-Malaysia border,” the official said.

At the border, they alleged, “money is demanded from them, or they are turned over to human traffickers in southern Thailand.”

There is a Muslim insurgency on-going in southern Thailand, are the refugees being sold as conscripts into the Islamic forces?  Or is it women and girls being sold as Atlas points out today in Africa?

If true, it sounds like a win-win for the government-official traffickers.   Either get paid off or do your fellow Muslims in Thailand a good service by supplying the mostly Burmese refugees (Rohingya?) to the Islamic insurgency.

“If all reports are accurate, then as many as a few thousand Myanmar migrants in Malaysia may have been taken to the Malaysia-Thai border in recent years,” the committee staff member said.

“If they pay, they return to Malaysia. If not, they are sold to traffickers, according to the reports,” the official said.

I’m wondering what we can do if the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee finds this to be true—-cut off funds to Malaysia?  What?

BTW, this AFP story says we have resettled 40,000 Burmese into the US since 1995.

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