Press Release: Boat owner ordered to provide 1,996,500 baht in compensation to 15 trafficked migrant workers from Myanmar in Kantang District, Trang

 

On 17 October 2019, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)’s attorneys were asked by the Trang Provincial Court to ask the 15 migrant workers from Myanmar to come and collect 1,996,500 Baht as compensation from their employer, the Boon Lap Fishing LP. The money has been deposited with Court and shall be disbursed to the workers.

As all the 15 workers have already left for Myanmar, HRDF will contact the Myanmar Embassy to coordinate and help bring the workers to Thailand to collect their compensation.

The case stemmed from a complaint by migrant workers from Myanmar who worked aboard fishing boats in Kantang District, Trang. They told local NGOs that they had been deprived of liberty, physically abused, and forced to work in debt bondage by their employer.

On 21 October 2013, officials from the Anti-Trafficking Center, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), along with local police forces and NGO activists rescued the 15 workers. On 7 November 2013, the employer, a partner of the Boon Lap Fishing LP was arrested for human trafficking with three accomplices, a violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008.

During the legal proceeding, HRDF assigned attorneys to offer legal representation and assistance to all of the 15 victims, including giving them legal counsel and helping them to become co-plaintiffs with the public prosecutor to prosecute the criminal case with the Trang Provincial Court. The case was accepted for review by the Court on 29 January 2017. The individuals indicted included Miss or Mrs. Somjit, Mae Saw Srisawang, and others — altogether ten persons together with the Boon Lap Fishing LP as a juristic person in the Black Case no. KM1/2559. The charges included procuring, confining, harboring, or receiving any person by means of a threat or use of force. The migrant workers from Myanmar said they feared for  their lives during the ordeal.

On 2 July 2019, the Trang Provincial Court read the verdict of the Supreme Court in the trafficking in persons case, Black Case no.KM1/2559 and Red Case no. 2/2560. The cases were filed by public prosecutors as the plaintiff and the 15 migrant workers from Myanmar as co-plaintiffs against Miss or Mrs. Somjit or Mae Saw Srisawang, a broker, and Mr. Somphon Jirotemontree, employer and owner of the Phoka Sathaporn fishing company in Kantang District, the four captains employed by the fishing company, security guards of the fishing company and others — all together ten people. The case was filed with the Trang Provincial Court as an offence against personal liberty and an offence against the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

The Supreme Court upheld the 30 January 2018 verdict of the Appeals Court to sentence the broker and her husband, the owner of Phoka Sathaporn fishing company and security guards, to ten years of imprisonment each. However, the four captains have since been acquitted (for more details, please see http://hrdfoundation.org/?p=2182 )

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For more information, please contact

Kanchan Akkharachart, Case Manager

The Anti Human Trafficking in Labour Project, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF),

E-mail: kanjana.ak@gmail.com

Chonticha Tangworamongkon, Director

Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF),

Phone 087-553-9689 E-mail: chonatwork@gmail.com

 

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