One night, her husband’s supervisor came to her while her husband was away and forced her to have sex with him. She was too scared to report to the police fearing her husband would lose his job.
Thai Labour Ministry records show about 750,000 registered workers from Burma, Cambodia and Laos in Thailand. The number of unregistered workers from the three neighbouring countries is much larger.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates there are about two million Burmese, Lao and Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand though non-governmental organizations (NGOs) say their number is as high as five million.
He was told everything would be all right by the end of July the following year unless he was arrested.
Escaping the harsh life It was in December 2006 that Zaw made the perilous journey to Thailand.
However, many have short duration jobs like construction work and pay 1,000 baht to brokers to find new work subsequently.
Migrant workers are paid between 100 and 150 baht (three to 4-1/2 dollars) a day, which is less than the legal Thai minimum daily wage.
Thai health authorities say infected Burmese migrants are spreading tuberculosis.
Employers are required to arrange regular health checks, but this is rarely provided, says a Burmese worker supervisor in Surat Thani. Burmese migrants attending Buddhist merit-making ceremonies are often detained by police in search of undocumented workers.
In practice, migrants pay about 20,000 baht (600 dollars) each to brokers to arrange these documents.
Employers are known to keep the documents with them to prevent workers from leaving the job. If we want to change jobs, we will have to pay another 20,000 baht for a new set of documents,” says Thargyi, a migrant worker.
A worker in Burma’s largest fishing centre in the Irrawady Division, Zaw did not earn enough to support his family.