On Tuesday 17 September 2013, around 13.00, at the Provincial Court of Kampaeng Phet, an attorney of Air’s mother filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Natee Taeng-on and Miss Rattanakorn Piyaworatham, employers, asking for damages from the physical abuse they have committed against “Air”, a girl who served as a house-worker causing her to suffer grievous injuries and pains, physically and mentally, and to be unable to travel anywhere like normal people. The claim which also covers medical expenses including operation amounts to 4,603,233 baht. The Provincial Court of Kampaeng Phet is scheduled to hear the request to waive the Court Fees lodged by Air’s mother on 4 November 2013 at 09.00 am.
The case began around 2009, when Air, a seven year old girl went disappeared from the residence of her parents who were migrant workers from Burma and employed by Thai employers in the province of Kampaeng Phet. Air’s mother was suspicious that Air’s disappearance had resulted from her being abducted by her former employer, who was Miss Rattanakorn Piyaworatham’s mother. She believed the abduction was an act of revenge against her and her husband for changing to another employer. But due to a threat made by her former employers, she did not make any attempt to enter their residence to search for her daughter. They threatened her that if she could not find her daughter there, she would be arrested by the police.
On 31 January 2013, Air successfully made an escape from the house and was assisted by some Samaritans. She then received help and shelter from officers of the Children’s and Family’s Home in Kampaeng Phet and other local agencies. According to Air, she was abducted by the former employers of her parents from the residence of her parents in the sugar cane plantation. Since then, she had been forced to serve as a house-worker in the house of Mr. Natee Taeng-on and Miss Rattanakorn Piyaworatham. During her time working with the two employers, she suffered abuses inflicted on her by them until she sustained grievous injuries including some wounds caused by her being poured with boiling water. The brute has also caused ligaments that make her unable to stretch her arms out and to bend her elbows. Officers of the Children’s and Family’s Home in Kampaeng Phet has transferred her to Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok for further treatment.
In criminal case, the inquiry officers have asked for arrest warrants against the two employers and later pressed two charges against the employers related to;
1. Committing bodily harm and thereby, causing the victim to receive grievous bodily harm (Penal Code’s Section 297)
2. Detaining and confining the other person and causing grievous bodily harm to the person detained (Penal Code’s Section 310)
3. Detaining and confining the other person and force the person detained to do any act for the offender or other person (Penal Code’s Section 310 bis)
4. Enslaving a person or causing a person to be in a position similar to a slave (Penal Code’s Section 312)
5. Enslaving a person or causing a person to be in a position similar to a slave when the person is a child not exceeding fifteen years of age. In addition, grievous bodily harm is also inflicted on the person detained. (Penal Code’s Section 312 bis)
6. Jointly committing an offence of human trafficking.
At present, the two employers are still at large after being granted bail. On 12 March 2013 the Public Prosecutor has asked the Provincial Court of Kampaeng Phet to proceed with witness examination including Air’s mother as per the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 237 bis.
The Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) also finds the employers’ act an attempt to unlawfully exploit an underage by way of human trafficking. Apart from perusing legal action against the employers as provided for by law, concerned agencies should consider providing the child with remedies to suit the best interest of hers. And the remedies shall not be just monetary, but also help to provide for welfare of the child and other family members throughout the time it takes to complete the litigation. In addition, society should be alerted as to the incidence and urged to help to prevent and suppress human trafficking in future.
For more information, please contact Ms. Orawan Wimolrangkharat, attorney, 088-289 1788 or
Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, Assistant to Secretary General of HRDF, 089 459 0212