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Women in camp used as sex slaves by guards, say Rohingya migrants

Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled on boats to nearby countries following a crackdown on people smuggling by Thai authorities. Mass graves were also discovered in both Malaysia and Thailand, believed to be that of human trafficking victims. – Reuters file pic, June 1, 2015.

By Bernama
June 1, 2015

Rohingya women migrants detained at a human trafficking syndicate transit camp in Padang Besar, Thailand, were treated like sex slaves and subjected to gang rape by the camp guards, according to a woman migrant.

Nur Khaidha Abdul Shukur, 24, who was held for eight days with her baby at the camp, said: "Every night, two or three young and pretty Rohingya women were taken out from the detention pens by the guards to a clandestine place.

"They would be gang-raped by the guards. Two young women at the camp became pregnant after the gang rape," she told Bernama through an interpreter in Alor Setar today.

According to Nur Khaidha, there were also cases of the women being taken away by the guards for several days to fulfill their lust.

"They will go missing for two to three days after being taken by the guards. I did not question them when they were returned to their pens, but I know what had happened to them.

"We knew from their expressions," she said, adding that women who were detained in the pens were not allowed to talk among themselves and risked being beaten up.

The two pregnant Rohingya women, Nur Khaidha said, had been held at the transit camp for more than six months.

She said that in the camp where she was detained last year, there were 15 Rohingya women victims of the syndicate, with five having small children. 

The five women with children were kept in the pens with their children but were not abused by the guards.

"Maybe the guards did not rape us because we had small children. But, regardless, I prayed everyday so that I would not become their rape victim," she said.

Nur Khaidha, who is from Maungdaw, Myanmar, emboldened herself to cross the Andaman Sea on a boat to Malaysia with her child to follow in her husband's footsteps.

Several months earlier, her husband, Nurul Amin Nobi Hussein, 25, had boarded a boat from Maungdaw to Ranong, Thailand, in his effort to set foot in Malaysia.

Unknown to his wife, he was also detained by the human trafficking syndicate at their transit camp in Bukit Wang Burma, Wang Kelian.

Compared to Nur Khaidha, who was detained for eight days at the transit camp at Padang Besar, her husband was detained in the camp at Bukit Wang Burma for 22 days before he made his escape.

Nurul Amin, who now worked at a workshop in Alor Setar, said his desire for a better life made him, his wife and son take a gamble to ride the "death" boats to Malaysia.

As what had been exposed by his wife, Nurul Amin also narrated the same story, that Rohingya women were by the guards at the transit camp in Wang Kelian.

"In the night, several of the guards will go to the pens housing the women and take them to a nearby place.

"We heard the shrieks and cries of the women because the place they raped them was very close to our pens, but as the incidents were at night, we could not see what was happening," he said.

Now, after about a year had passed, Nurul Amin and his wife Nur Khaidha were thankful they were free of the abject misery of being detained at the transit camps of the human trafficking syndicates and wanted to start a new life.

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Rohingya Exodus