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Major legal victory for migrant workers in Thailand as two traffickers sentenced to prison

May 7, 2019

A couple from Myanmar was convicted in a Thai court on 23 April of trafficking 12 migrant workers and their family members from Myanmar to Thailand. The case represents a major victory for migrant workers in Thailand.

The defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison under Thailand’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and ordered to pay 1,948,075 Thai Baht ($61,000USD) to the victims.

Two Freedom Fund partner organisations, the Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) assisted the victims in the case and provided them with legal assistance.

In 2017, the traffickers lured 12 workers and their families to work in Thailand. Upon their arrival, they were informed by the brokers that they owed money accounting for their travel, documents and food during their journey, and they, therefore, had to work for the brokers in order to pay off their “debts”.

MRWN and HRDF helped the plaintiffs report the case to the police, leading to the brokers’ arrest. The traffickers were charged with trafficking the workers from Myanmar to Thailand, forcing them to work on fishing boats and trapping them in debt bondage.

In a separate labour case, the victims won $2,000USD from their employers in outstanding back wages.

The Freedom Fund’s Thailand hotspot aims to significantly reduce slavery in the Thai seafood industry. Learn more.

Photo credit: Sarah Mount/Freedom Fund


Written by
The Freedom Fund