Via: Burma Task Force USA Newsletter.
"Beatings, starvation, ransom, murder, rape and sex slavery – these are some of the possible fates that await Rohingyas as they flee their ancestral homelands in Burma and take a treacherous, dangerous trip by sea in the hope for a better life in another country."
The trip is expensive and risky, yet the persecution of Rohingyas in Burma leaves them without any acceptable options. So hundreds of thousands of Rohingya scrape together the funds by saving, selling their belongings, borrowing, or (if they are female) promising themselves into marriage to an overseas benefactor offering to pay the traffickers.
Take the story of Azima, a 17-year old woman who traveled on one of these boats to be smuggled into Thailand. Her fate was better than many of those she traveled with, who may have suffered from beatings, starvation, rape, and even murder during their journey. A young man who knew Azima from childhood, went heavily into debt to pay for her trip so that they could be married. However, many Rohingya women know little or nothing about the men they have agreed to marry in order to escape Burma.
Azima with her husband Hussein in his family home in Thailand. But not all Rohingya women and men as as fortunate. The Guardian tells the story of Azima and her harrowing journey out of Burma and into Thailand.
And read about 17-year old Mohammed Tahir, who at this young age has already witnessed the beating death of his father at the hands of the Burmese military and was virtually a slave to a violent master after escaping Burma.
The brutalities that the Rohingya are suffering are extreme – so extreme that seven Nobel laureates have described it as genocide. The (intentional) result of this persecution is that Rohingyas are attempting to flee in droves. Since the increase in violence against Rohingyas in Burma began several years ago, Southeast Asia has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees escaping to other countries. They often flee in the “care” of violent, criminal human traffickers.
We can do something. We can be a voice for these persecuted people.