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Htay

In March 2013, 14 victims aged between 16 and 46 years, and all from Myanmar, were rescued by local police from a fishing port and processing factory in Kantang where they were being held by brokers. Most of the victims had just returned from six months at sea, on three separate fishing vessels. Despite receiving no pay, by selling dried squid to the boat they transferred fish to, one of the group was able to save enough money to buy a mobile phone and SIM card. This enabled them to alert one of the other victim’s family members, who contacted a helpline for reporting human trafficking to secure their rescue. EJF interviewed six victims, none of whom had ever been on a fishing boat, or even seen the sea before being trafficked. They gave accounts of being deceived by brokers who told them they would be working in factories. They reported being beaten or seeing others beaten, and working in arduous conditions onboard the fishing vessels. Three of the victims had been trafficked from within Thailand, whilst working in a chicken factory in the north of the country. A visiting broker had told them that he would secure them a better job in another factory, with higher wages. "Htay" discusses that, in addition to forcing labour on the fishing ships, the perpetrators in this case were also committing illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.

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Kyi

In March 2013, 14 victims aged between 16 and 46 years, and all from Myanmar, were rescued by local police from a fishing port and processing factory in Kantang where they were being held by brokers. Most of the victims had just returned from six months at sea, on three separate fishing vessels. Despite receiving no pay, by selling dried squid to the boat they transferred fish to, one of the group was able to save enough money to buy a mobile phone and SIM card. This enabled them to alert one of the other victim’s family members, who contacted a helpline for reporting human trafficking to secure their rescue. The Environmental Justice Foundation interviewed six victims, none of whom had ever been on a fishing boat, or even seen the sea before being trafficked. They gave accounts of being deceived by brokers who told them they would be working in factories. They reported being beaten or seeing others beaten, and working in arduous conditions onboard the fishing vessels. Three of the victims had been trafficked from within Thailand, whilst working in a chicken factory in the north of the country. A visiting broker had told them that he would secure them a better job in another factory, with higher wages. "Kyi" recounts some of the brutal violence used against him and others being forced to work on these ships.

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Ko Min

Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Enslaved people are subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult. The Thai Government has faced severe pressure to tackle forced labour specifically in the fishing sector, with the European Commission threatening a trade ban in 2015 for not taking sufficient measures to combat illegal and unregulated fishing that would cause the loss of up to US$1.4million a year in seafood exports. As a result the Government have reportedly accelerated efforts to combat labour exploitation, however despite this most workers in the Thai fishing sectors remain unregistered. Ko Min was working on a rubber plantation when he was abducted, sold and forced on to a fishing boat. Told he had to work to pay off debt Ko Min was forced to work for up to three days at a time with no sleep. Eventually the boat docked and with the captain distracted Ko Min was able to escape, borrowing money and hiring a motorbike to travel to Hat Yai he was reunited with his brother and the rest of his family.

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Min Aung

Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Enslaved people are subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. People are also often exploited in sea-food pre-processing facilities, with reports of men, women and children working excessive hours in oppressive and abusive conditions. Though the Thai Government have reportedly accelerated efforts to combat labour exploitation, most workers in the Thai fishing sectors remain unregistered. Min Aung was enslaved in a shrimp factory along with his pregnant wife where they were subjected to long working hours under the constant threat of violence. Min Aung worked at the factory for two years before he was able to leave. 

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Vannak

Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Enslaved people are subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult. The Thai Government has faced severe pressure to tackle forced labour specifically in the fishing sector, with the European Commission threatening a trade ban in 2015 for not taking sufficient measures to combat illegal and unregulated fishing that would cause the loss of up to US$1.4million a year in seafood exports. As a result the Government have reportedly accelerated efforts to combat labour exploitation, however despite this most workers in the Thai fishing sectors remain unregistered. Vannak sought work away from home in order to provide for his family. He was offered a job by a taxi driver drying fish in Thailand and told that if he refused he would have to pay for the journey, money he did not have. Vannak was locked up and forced on to a fishing boat where he worked for 3 years under the constant threat of violence and never receiving any salary for his work. Eventually, Vannak escaped, swimming twenty minutes to shore and making his way back to Cambodia and his family.

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Vatsana

It is estimated that 425,500 people are enslaved in Thailand, with the many subjected to forced labour. Women overseas-workers most often find employment in private households or service sectors, finding themselves having to pay significant fees for the migration and recruitment process. Domestic servitude is also prevalent with the majority of enslaved being women from rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Victims are often physically and sexually abused, confined to the house and find their pay and identity documents withheld. Vatsana was offered a job in Thailand working in a factory. However, upon arrival she was taken to a private home and forced to work from 4am to 7pm every day. Vatsana experienced physical abuse daily and did not earn any money for her work. Finally, one day after over 16 years of enslavement, Vatsana was able to get a message over the fence and was rescued.

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Yum

Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Enslaved people are subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult. The Thai Government has faced severe pressure to tackle forced labour specifically in the fishing sector, with the European Commission threatening a trade ban in 2015 for not taking sufficient measures to combat illegal and unregulated fishing that would cause the loss of up to US$1.4million a year in seafood exports. As a result the Government have reportedly accelerated efforts to combat labour exploitation, however despite this most workers in the Thai fishing sectors remain unregistered.    Yum was in Cambodia looking for work when he decided to travel with friends to Thailand. On the way, they were met by a man who offered them work on his farm, which they accepted. They were forced to work long hours with no wages. After a month, the farmer fled and Yum was offered work on a construction site in Thailand. However, in Thailand Yum arrived not at a construction site but a sea port. It was only after days on a fishing vessel that he was told he had been sold. Subjected to months at sea with poor nutrition and daily beatings, Yum was finally able to escape one the boat reached Indonesian waters. 

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Vatsana B

It is estimated that 425,500 people are enslaved in Thailand, with the many subjected to forced labour. Women overseas-workers most often find employment in private households or service sectors, often finding themselves having to pay significant fees for the migration and recruitment process. Domestic servitude is also prevalent with the majority of enslaved being women from rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Victims are often physically and sexually abused, confined to the house and find their pay and identity documents withheld.  Vatsana was 13 years old when her parents could no longer afford to keep her in school and she travelled to Thailand to work. Though she was told she would be selling refreshments, upon arrival Vatsana was locked in a house, forced to do all household chores without pay and subjected to physical abuse.  

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Buy

It is estimated that 425,500 people are enslaved in Thailand, with the many subjected to forced labour. Women overseas-workers most often find employment in private households or service sectors, often finding themselves having to pay significant fees for the migration and recruitment process. Domestic servitude is also prevalent with the majority of enslaved being women from rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Victims are often physically and sexually abused, confined to the house and find their pay and identity documents withheld.  Buy fled his home in Myanmar after he was forced to join the army and travelled to Thailand. In Thailand, Buy worked for two or three years in the agricultural sector without pay. When he did start asking for the wages that were owed to him, his employers called the police, and because he was undocumented, Buy was arrested. Buy found his way to the Chai Lai Eco Retreat which helps undocumented workers who have been trafficked in Thailand. They assisted him in getting a passport and work permit which ensures he is paid minimum wage. 

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Saw Pol Lu

The UN has estimated that the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people around the world has topped 65 million. Many of these people live in refugee camps across the globe. In Myanmar (Burma), thousands of people have fled civil war and found themselves confined to refugee camps in Thailand where they are vulnerable to human trafficking. In an attempt to provide for their families, refugees are lured for employment in Thailand and Malaysia then sold to employers as forced labourers. Saw Pol Lu fled Myanmar (Burma) to escape the civil wars and now lives in Mae La refugee camp along the Thai boarder. Here the widespread corruption and failed Thai policy led Saw Pol Lu, along with thousands of other refugees, in to the hands of human traffickers. Saw Pol Lu tells of the conditions and dangers faced by Burmese refugees in Thailand.

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Vicheth

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.   Vicheth migrated to Thiland with his cousin’s nephew because his family was poor. A broker they met in Poipet trafficked them on to a boat carrying rice. On the boat he worked shifting bags of rice, with each bag weighing 25-50kg, Vicheth’s pay depended on how much he lifted. However, when he asked for money, the boss told him he had not yet worked enough. With a group of workers and a crane, Vicheth would lift several tonnes of rice per day, sometimes getting a break during the day but often working until 2am with no time to sleep. Vicheth worked in the Thai sea and was trafficked several times on to different boats. 

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Anchaly

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.   Anchaly, a Cambodian man, was looking for work when a broker told him he could earn good money working on a boat. However, when he arrived, he, along with other men, were told they had been sold. 

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Atith

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.   Atith was trafficked on to a Thai fishing vessel where he was forced to work long hours with no break, denied medical treatment and subjected to verbal and physical abuse.  

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Boran

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.   Boran was trafficked on to a Thai fishing vessel where he was subjected to physical violence and threats daily. 

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Q

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country's commercial sex industry remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences.   Q was told she would be going a job to help her family. However, she soon learned that her mother had sold her virginity. She was kept in a man’s apartment for 2 days and subjected to sexual abuse. After 2 days she returned home only to find that her mother had sold her again.  

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San Htike Win

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.  In March 2013 San Htike Win was rescued from a Thai fishing vessel in Katang. Following his rescue he was held in a police station before being moved to a government run shelter in Ranong. After 11 months in the shelter, San Ktike Win tells of his frustration at the slow court process.

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Khin Zaw Win

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.  In March 2013 Khin Zaw Win was rescued from a Thai fishing vessel in Katang. Following his rescue he was held in a police station before being moved to a government run shelter in Ranong. After 11 months in the shelter, Khin Zaw Win tells of his frustration at the slow court process and his desire to go home.

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Maung Toe

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.  In March 2013 Maung Toe was rescued from a Thai fishing vessel in Katang. Following his rescue he was held in a police station before being moved to a government run shelter in Ranong. After 11 months in the shelter, Maung Toe tells of his frustration at the slow court process and his desire to go home.