Most are Muslim Rohingyas from the western Rakhine state in Myanmar, where they are not recognised as citizens and instead referred to as 'Bengalis' or illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Bangladeshis, meanwhile, are also trying to escape grinding poverty.

More than 3,500 migrants have swum to shore or been rescued off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh since a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking in early May threw the illicit trade into chaos.

Latest News from World News Desk