Myanmar on Thursday opens one of its biggest ever sales of precious gems – an opportunity for the government to flaunt its massive ruby industry.
However, what it wont show is the virtual slavery invovled in the industry, with children as young as four being exploited to prop up production.
MAPUTO — Kazi Jarangir Alam fled his native Bangladesh in a $11,000 (8,000-euro) journey over thousands of kilometres and climbed a border fence for a better life in South Africa only to be caught and sent back.
Like hundreds of other illegal immigrants, his journey ended in Mozambique, from where authorities say trafficking syndicates are smuggling Asians into South Africa, the continent’s powerhouse and strongest economy.
Alam was flown into Mozambique’s capital Maputo, and then quickly crossed into South Africa but was detained in Johannesburg when he asked for asylum.
Rather than send him back to Bangladesh, South Africa deported him to Mozambique, where he was held in a transit camp with hundreds of other migrants.
Mozambique this week repatriated the last of the 444 detainees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and China, more than a month after South Africa bussed them back over the border.
In a secret phone interview from the Massaca transit camp south of Maputo, Alam explained he left his country because “there are political problems.”
“Bangladesh is a full country. I left for political reasons, others for business,” the 28-year-old told AFP.
The head of his political party paid a syndicate for the journey to South Africa, he said.
Mozambican authorities say many syndicates could be involved in human trafficking.