On 31 August 2023 at 11.30 at the Labour Court Region 7, staff members from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) in Mahachai chapter, lawyers and Director and staff from the Pathumthani Welfare Protection Center for Victims of Trafficking in Person have accompanied 14 Myanmar migrant workers employed in a sugar cane plantation in Kanchanaburi, as injured parties in the trafficking and forced labour case, to attend a mediation session. This stems from a case filed by the labour inspectors of the Kanchanaburi Provincial Office of Labour Protection and Welfare to compel the employer to make the payment as instructed by the labour inspectors.
According to the Court Docket, those present during the mediation included the employer, a Skill Development Technical Officer, Senior Professional Level, a legal officer and an interpreter from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and the 14 Myanmar migrant workers as injured parties. Following the mediation, the employer agreed to pay 400,000 baht which is an equivalent of 73% of the amount of 547,380 baht, awarded by the labour inspector. Each employee of the sugar cane plantation shall receive the payment according to the average amount they are entitled to. It is expected that the Court shall transfer the money to their bank accounts within two working days.
On 1 March 2023, special operations officers from the Department of Provincial Administration and staff members from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) have rescued the 14 Myanmar migrant workers including ten men and four women. They were forced to cut sugar cane in Moo 9, Tambon Ban Kao, Muang District, Kanchanaburi. After investigating further, the DPA’s special operations officers have found the employer could be culpable of committing an offence of forced labour or service according to Section 6/1 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act B.E. 2551 and offence against other applicable laws. The employer had earlier absconded. Later the employer has made contact with the DPA’s special operations team indicating he wanted to turn himself in on the following day. Earlier on 19 February 2023, a Myanmar migrant worker has contacted and asked for help from HRDF’s staff in Samut Sakhon for being subject to intimidation and physical abuse by their employer who also threatened to not pay them their wage, forced them to work and retained their personal documents, as a result of which they wanted to run away. For more information, please read http://hrdfoundation.org/?p=3028&lang=en
Of late on 9 May 2023, during the press conference of the Royal Thai Police led by Pol.Gen. Surachate Hakparn. Deputy Commissioner General. Director of Child Woman Protection Anti-Human Trafficking and Fishery Royal Thai Police, there was a briefing on the conclusion of the investigation of forced labour in the Muang District, Kanchanaburi. Legal action was lodged against the employer, their accomplice and human smugglers, altogether nine individuals. In the letter, it indicates that Pol.Gen. Surachate Hakparn has instructed the Superintendent of the Moung Kanchanaburi Polce Station to investigate and compile evidence on the trafficking in person case and to expand the investigation to round up all people concerned with the process. From the police investigation, it was found Mr. Chirayut Chalermsuppaset, the employer, ran a business to smuggle in migrant workers and then forced them to work in a sugar cane plantation while withholding all of their personal documents. He even used knives and firearms to threaten them and force them to work. The workers had to work with no days off and were paid 500 baht each per week having to live in rather crammed shelter, The police have corroborated evidence and pressed charges against the nine suspects including the employer, two accomplices, and six human smugglers including in an offence against trafficking in person and forced labour or service, being accessories in the perpetration of trafficking in person and forced labour or service, and harbouring, hiding or in any manner assisting an alien to enter the country and evade arrest.
Initially, the Royal Thai Police concluded that the six human smugglers are being charged separately and the investigation report has been completed and furnished to the public prosecutor. As to the prosecution against the employer and their accomplices, the investigation is still ongoing and the report will be further submitted to the public prosecutor while the investigation report against complicit government officials shall be submitted to the public prosecutor on corruption and malfeasance case.