Tourists visiting Myanmar this week have been reminded of the dangers of the un-regulated parts of the casino business inside the country, which is rife with criminality. Chinese-owned casinos in the region have been engaging increasingly in a number of unsavory and criminal behaviors. Most pertinent is the human trafficking of workers into the region, who are brought to work the casinos on false pretenses, often subject to threat and intimidation in order to keep them in the locations they’re needed.
Many of these trafficked workers are young women from the Luang Namtha province of Laos. They’re brought into neighboring Myanmar to a region known locally as the Casino Kosai, a standalone integrated resort in the city of Myawaddy. Dozens of missing person reports have been filed by parents seeking the return of their children, but the efforts to make contact with them and track their whereabouts are currently hampered due to the chaotic social-upheaval in the region.
Intense fighting between the pro and anti junta forces in Myanmar’s Kayin state province are making efforts to track the trafficked workers incredibly difficult. Charities operating in the region have taken it upon themselves to act, and are seeking inroads to recover the lost individuals wherever they may reside. These groups have also gone so far as to blame the Lao authorities for their complicity. Authorities have been mostly useless in dealing with the problem, and the families of the victims are left with no support or answers from government officials.
The Asian casino business is showing signs of becoming totally abject by the stringent rules and regulations we often cover concerning countries in the European, North American, and Australian markets. In Asia, the rules are largely focused on the financial implications at the higher layer, and very often fail to protect the people working in the casinos.
Casino Kosai is a Hidden World of Crime
The Casino Kosai near Myawaddy is now known as a place where many young people from Laos are trapped in a life of crime. They are held in ordinary-looking buildings and made to take part in scams that trick people online. Many have been forced to pretend to be someone looking for love, only to cheat people out of their money.
Parents of the trapped young people are desperate for help. They have turned to the police and other authorities, but no one seems able to help them. Some parents have even joined together to file an official complaint, but still, nothing has been done. They feel forgotten and don’t know where to turn next.
Recently, a 17-year-old girl was horribly beaten at the casino for trying to contact her mother. The story of her beating, and pictures of her injuries, have shocked many people. Her story shows just how cruel life can be inside the casino, where even the smallest mistake can lead to violence.
Lao Government’s Lack of Action Making Problem Worse
The government’s failure to do anything about the Casino Kosai has angered many people. Some have even accused them of being part of the problem. While this may or may not be true, what is clear is that the authorities have not done enough to help the families who are suffering.
The ongoing fighting in Myanmar’s Kayin state is said to be one of the reasons the authorities can’t get to the casino. But to the parents waiting for their children to be rescued, this sounds like just another excuse. They want action, not words, and they are losing faith in those who are supposed to help them.
Families are now joining together to demand action. They have written letters and filed complaints, but nothing has happened. Even those in charge of stopping trafficking seem unable to do anything. The situation at the casino needs urgent action, not more delays. The world is watching, and it’s time for the government to do the right thing.
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