Mae Sot, a Thai city on the border of Burma and Thailand is now home to thousands of the 2,000,000 people who fled war, violence and brutality in their native Mayanmar. Ma Nege, a 12 year old Burmese refugee girl, spends every day during the week working the garbage dumps in search of anything that could be transformed either into food or a product that can be sold. She scavenges amidst huge rats fighting them for a bottle or other plastic in order to sell them to recycling plants. Thousands of other Burmese work in factories where they are exploited by businessmen who can get away with anything since these refugees lack work permits. According to Moe Swet, a leader in Burmese refugee organizations, their lack of proper documents has “made them easy prey for unscrupulous businessmen and the police don’t do anything to protect them.” Dozens of bodies have been found in border regions, most probably people killed by traffickers or by businessmen seeking to get rid of evidence that might implicate them for brutality and exploitation.
The tragedy of Burma will not soon be altered. They are a people abandoned by neighbors in India and China who might take action to force the military junta to change its policies. But, the money obtained by outside corporations is too attractive to give up in order to assist unknown refugees.