Phanos was an inhabited planet. It had a great deal of unoccupied territory.
In the mid-24th century, a group of Talaxian refugees fleeing the Haakonian conquest settled on Phanos. However, the planetary government restricted them to a small portion of land, explaining that they wanted to quarantine them to protect their population from alien diseases. The Talaxians believed this was just an excuse and that the government did not want its people mixing with outsiders.
When it became clear the land wasn't enough for the Talaxians to grow sufficient food, Dexa's husband resorted to farming outside the restricted zone. This led to a conflict with a security patrol in which he was killed, after which the Talaxians left Phanos seeking a new home. (VOY: "Homestead")