Sea Gypsies of Sabah Sea gypsies are a unique community of stateless citizens who are born, live and die at sea. In Borneo’s Sabah region these sea gypsies are known as “Bajau Laut”. But this fascinating culture is today at risk, with increasing numbers of boat dwelling families moving to the mainland to seek work. Traditionally boat dwelling nomadic groups, known more broadly as Sama-Bajau are from the many islands of the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines. Many have migrated to neighboring Malaysia and the northern islands of the Philippines due to the conflict in Muslim Mindanao. The Sea Gypsies of Borneo face ongoing instability and continue to seek security for their families. Their close proximity to the Southern Philippines and home to the Abu Sayyag, a muslim extremist network with international links, has resulted in recent kidnappings in Sabah. This has led to an increased presence in the area from Malaysian Military and curfews are being enforced, restricting movements for the Bajau people. The group’s dependence upon marine resources is presenting further challenges, with depleting trade and food sources. There are also outside pressures for cultural assimilation and modernization, presenting more reasons for many of the local sea gypsies to abandon their culture and lifestyle and move to nearby towns to find work.