Myanmar woman arrested in Phuket in connection with human trafficking

From the Phuket News:

PHUKET: A Myanmar woman was arrested yesterday (Jan 28) for assisting her husband detain 32 migrants at fishing pier in Koh Sirey. Her husband managed to escape arrest.

38-year-old Ma Yo will face charges of assisting her husband detain people against their will.


The 32 men, all Myanmar nationals, are believed to be the victims of human trafficking and have been taken to Phuket City Police to be questioned.

Phuket City Police led by Lt Col Khunnadet Na Nongkhai together with human traffic crime suppression police, Mr Ko Tee from the Myanmar Embassy Thailand and officials from the Labour Right Promotion Network (LPN) yesterday arrested 38-year-old Ma Yo at a shelter at the entrance to the fishing pier in Rassda.

Officials rescued the 32 men who claim to have been tricked into coming to work as fishermen and have since been forced into the fishing industry by Ma Yo and her husband.

Lt Col Khunnadet said that the arrest came after one Myanmar migrant named Nai escaped from a fishing boat and managed to borrow a mobile phone from a local resident. He immediately called his family in Myanmar and requested they alert the embassy about the group’s situation.

According to Nai, he and the other 32 men had been forced to work in the fishing industry. He also claimed the men had been abused and assaulted, did not receive any pay, and were locked in a shelter until they were sent to work.

This led police to raid the shelter where Nai alleged the men had been kept, and upon doing so they discovered the 32 men inside and were able to arrest Ma Yo. However, her husband 36-year-old husband Arpad or Ko Pae got away.

Ma Yo was taken to Phuket City Police station where she admitted that her husband is an agent who provides migrant workers for the fishing industry. She also told police that he would trick the workers into working in the fishing industry.

It is alleged that Arpad gets the workers from another agent in Prachuab Khirikhan before handing them over to people involved in the fishing industry in Phuket once a price for the men has been agreed.

Ma Yo claims that she is only involved in her husband’s accounts and cooking for the migrants.

Ma Yo will face charges of assisting her husband detain people against their will.