In Thailand, 54 Burmese Migrant Workers Suffocate in Truck

April 11, 2008 08:01 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The death of Burmese workers being smuggled into Phuket, Thailand, highlights similar migrant worker tragedies in other countries.

30-Second Summary

The New York Times reports that 54 Burmese migrant workers suffocated after being crammed inside a 20 ft. by 7 ft. space in the back of a sealed truck in southern Thailand. According to Thai police, the group of 121 illegal laborers was being smuggled into the country.

En route to Phuket, the workers began pounding on the sides of the truck, yelling for air and calling the driver on his cell phone, but to little avail.

According to The Washington Post, the driver pulled over and fled the scene. It remains unknown whether the driver or nearby villagers opened the truck door and found the victims.

Burmese workers have long faced ill treatment in Thailand. In 2004, the Asian Human Rights Commission received complaints that Burmese migrant workers at two factories in Mae Sot, Thailand, were being denied labor rights and subjected to inhumane working conditions.

Migrant workers around the world have suffered similar fates. In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants died in a tomato truck at the British port of Dover, and in 2004, U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported that 19 Chinese workers drowned while picking shellfish in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire.

Headline Links: A gruesome ride to Phuket

Background: Burmese migrants face hardship in Thailand

Related Topics: Problems faced by migrant workers worldwide

Opinion & Analysis: Globalizing labor


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