67,087 Cambodian migrant workers were deported from Thailand through the Poipet international border checkpoint during 2015, according to the Khmer Times.
21,797 of these migrant workers were women, said the Poipet immigration police chief Sim Sam Ath.
A census by the Thai government in 2015 found that over 450,000 Cambodians were illegally living and working in Thailand, often journeying to the Kingdom in a bid to find work and enjoy a higher wage that they would at home in Cambodia.
A total of over 270,000 Cambodians were deported in 2014 from Thailand for failing to produce the proper immigration documentation.
Illegal border crossings
Theses migrants often travel dangerously through illegal corridors in a bid to enter the country undetected from Cambodia, but can face being shot at by border police if they are caught.
Illegal crossings into Thailand are also an issue at the Thai/Malaysian border in the south of the country.
An investigation by The Star and Asia News Network found that illegal forest crossings – known locally as lorung tikus – are still in active use.
The route, which starts deep inside the Malaysian forest, takes almost 5 hours to cross on foot and winds up in a small Thai village known as Ban Telok.
It is thought that the route may be being used by Rohingya migrants to enter Malaysia undetected too.
“Most Rohingyas who enter our country illegally use this path. As this place is so deep in the forest, there is no fencing or border walls here, just stone border markings,” Ahmad, a villager from Felcra Lubuk Sireh (Malaysia), told The Star.
The police chief of Perlis, Malaysia, Senior Asst Comm Shafie Ismail, thinks that illegal border crossings may also be used by Thai nationals to enter the state of Perlis to work illegally as rubber tappers. Human traffickers may also use the route.
“Besides having personnel patrolling 24 hours, we also have 350 PGA patrolling the Malaysian-Thailand border in Perlis,” said SAC Shafie.
“We also use drones to monitor the border. We are aware of the illegal routes and are monitoring them. Illegal immigrants or human traffickers cannot use the routes with our increased enforcement.
“But we are not ruling out the possibility that their modus operandi might have changed and that they may be coming over in smaller groups of two people instead of larger groups,” he concluded.
Featured image is of the Poipet checkpoint at the Thai/Cambodian border and is by Darcy M