Thai arrests force undocumented workers to seek help from labour attaché

Writer: 
Shwe Thein (Myawady)

As authorities speed up arrests, undocumented Myanmar workers in Thailand are reportedly seeking help from the Labour Attaché Office in order to return home.

Those seeking help mostly hail from Aunglan Township, Magway Region. Most illegal migrant workers enter Thailand with the help of brokers.

"We arrived at a pineapple factory on May 24. We earn 300 baht a day. We don't receive overtime fees. When we drew our wages, the broker came and asked for our money. We were given back only about 300 baht. As authorities make arrests, we have to hide in the jungle. We could have only a meal a day," said one undocumented worker Aung Kyaw Khaing.

A local broker in Myanmar charged Ks 50,000 per worker while the broker in Thailand demands 14,000 baht. The workers said they had paid 6,000 baht.

"As arrests gain momentum, we have to be hiding in the forest. We have been there for about seven days. We made a phone call to the labour attaché for help. By working illegally in Thailand, we lost our money and live amongst trouble. So we want to go home," said another undocumented worker Myint Myint Khaing.

Since Thai authorities started crackdown on undocumented migrant workers, about 25 Myanmar workers have sought help from the Labour Attaché Office.

"Twelve workers have arrived here after contacting us. We had to bring 13 others here. We are now planning to send them home. Those who want to work in Thailand are urged to come here after signing a memorandum of understanding. We will help them," said Labour Attaché San Maung Oo.