For immediate release on 9 March 2021
HRDF lawyer meet with public prosecutors in charge of human trafficking and forced labor cases on fishing boats in Nakhon Si Thammarat
On 3 March 2021, attorneys of Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and the International Justice Mission (IJM), as legal representatives of injured parties including five migrant fishing workers from Myanmar have met with the public prosecutors in charge of the investigation of human trafficking and forced labor case on fishing boats in Si Chon District, Nakhon Si Thammarat. Initially, as the public prosecutors are aware of the importance of the case, an instruction has been issued to set up a legal team to meet and determine compensation for the injured parties. The case shall be filed with the court on 10 March 2021.
This case has stemmed from the request for help from civil society by the five migrant fishing workers from Myanmar. While working from 1995 to March 2020, they were subject to exploitation by their employers who are the owners of fishing boats in Nakhon Si Thammarat including being denied their payment, being subject to physical abuse and intimidation during the course of their work and having their personal documents retained leaving them without access to such documents. The employers also deducted from their monthly wage claiming it was to pay off fees to process their personal documents. Such exorbitant deduction has given rise to enormous debts among the workers. If they asked to quit, the employers would cite such debts as a reason to prevent them from leaving. This has subject them to a debt bondage. The police have arrested the boat owners and captains, seven of them. They shall be indicted with the Criminal Court on 10 March 2021 for being complicit in human trafficking and exploitation through forced labor, maliciously using and keeping electronic cards of other persons in a manner that may likely cause damage to other persons or the public per the Anti-Human Trafficking Act B.E. 2551 and its amendments and the Penal Code.
For more information, please contact Ms. Kanchana Akkhrachat, Case Manager
Anti-Labour Trafficking Project (ALT), Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 095-978-7442 E-mail: [email protected]