The Colours of Exploitation: Smuggling of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Malaysia(Warna-Warni Eksploitasi: Penyeludupan Rohingya dari Myanmar ke Malaysia)

Andika Ab. Wahab




Irregular migration is inevitable due to a long history of systematic human rights persecutions facing the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Their irregular migration has been made possible by the presence of smuggling networks whose business operations were motivated by multiple factors beyond merely profit seeking. Essentially, smuggling of migrants is often associated with element of mutual benefit between the two parties namely the smuggler and migrant. Additionally, a migrant who has agreed to be smuggled has given his or her consent. Given the various factors that motivate such smuggling service, the question arises, does aspect of exploitation exist in this mutually beneficial transaction? If yes, on what basis does it constitute exploitation? In the event where smuggling service is offered to assist Rohingyas to ensure safe migration and to flee from long human rights persecutions, can this be considered as an act of exploitation? Are there any extreme acts where smugglers commit on physical violence, harassment and various forms of manipulation against the victims? This study seeks to explore on these research inquiries. Despite the existence of elements such as mutual benefit and consent throughout the smuggling of Rohingya victims, this study found that exploitation still exists. In the event where smuggling of Rohingyas were inspired by the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, the study argues that the failure of smugglers to uphold their prima facie moral obligation not to extract benefit from Rohingyas who cannot reasonably refuse their offers – still account to exploitation. Worse, the use of deception, coercion, forced labour and forced marriage were not uncommon employed by the smugglers in order to intimidate and threaten victims. This suggests that some smuggling activities are likely to turn into trafficking in persons incidents where aspects of mutually beneficial and victims' consent are no longer applied. Findings in this study were derived from a yearlong field work in 2013 by engaging Rohingya refugees, asylum seekers as well as Rohingya community leaders and activists in Peninsular Malaysia.


Keywords: Exploitation; Rohingya; refugees; smuggling of migrants; trafficking in persons


Migrasi secara haram berlaku akibat pencabulan hak asasi manusia yang berpanjangan terhadap kaum Rohingya di Myanmar. Migrasi secara haram dapat dilakukan dengan bantuan rangkaian penyeludup yang mana orientasi perniagaan mereka ditentukan oleh pelbagai faktor, merentasi keperluan mengaut keuntungan semata-mata. Umumnya, penyeludupan migran sering dikaitkan dengan elemen “keuntungan bersama” diantara kedua-dua pihak iaitu penyeludup dan migran yang diseludup. Seorang migran yang diseludup juga selalunya telah menyatakan “kerelaan” untuk diseludup. Disebabkan terdapat pelbagai faktor yang mendorong aktiviti penyeludupan migran dilakukan, terdapat persoalan sama ada wujudkah aspek eksploitasi dalam aktiviti penyeludupan migran? Jika ya, apakah asas yang menyatakan kewujudan eksploitasi tersebut? Dalam kes dimana penyeludupan migran dilakukan bagi membantu Rohingya melarikan diri dari pencabulan hak asasi manusia di Myanmar, seterusnya memastikan mereka melalui satu proses migrasi yang selamat, adakah ini dianggap satu tindakan eksploitasi? Wujudkah tindakan eksploitasi secara ekstrem yang melibatkan tindakan seperti keganasan fizikal, penganiayaan dan pelbagai bentuk manipulasi terhadap mangsa Rohingya? Kajian ini dilakukan bagi mengupas persoalan-persoalan tersebut. Walaupun terdapat elemen “keuntungan bersama” dan “kerelaan” dalam penyeludupan Rohingya, kajian ini mendapati bahawa eksploitasi masih wujud. Dalam konteks dimana penyeludupan Rohingya dilakukan berdasarkan semangat persaudaraan dan solidariti, kajian ini berhujah bahawa penyeludup masih gagal untuk menegakkan tanggungjawab sosial prima facie, dengan tidak mengaut keuntungan daripada Rohingya yang tidak mampu untuk menolak tawaran penyeludupan mereka. Oleh yang demikian, ia masih dianggap sebagai satu bentuk eksploitasi. Sementara itu, tindakan seperti memperdaya, memaksa dan mengeksploitasi mangsa Rohingya bagi tujuan buruh paksa dan kahwin tanpa rela merupakan manifestasi yang jelas sebagai satu bentuk eksploitasi secara melampau. Penemuan kajian ini hasil daripada kajian lapangan yang dilakukan pada 2013 yang melibatkan orang pelarian dan pencari suaka politik Rohingya, ketua-ketua pimpinan serta aktivis Rohingya di semenanjung Malaysia.




Kata kunci: Eksploitasi; Rohingya; pelarian; penyeludupan migran; pemerdagangan orang

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