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Thai woman arrested for allegedly running labour trafficking operation linked to Samut Sakhon market

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Daily News

Police arrested a 45 year old Thai woman for allegedly running the country’s largest illegal labour trafficking operation and bringing undocumented Burmese migrants into Thailand to work at the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Ratree “Jay Phet” Vechsuwan was arrested on Friday. Police say she trafficked migrant workers for more than 5 years. Even when the border checkpoints closed due to the pandemic, police say the network was still able to bring illegal migrants across the Thai-Myanmar border.

Thousands of migrant workers in Samut Sakhon tested positive for the coronavirus since the December outbreak at the shrimp market. The outbreak shed light on problems with undocumented labour and human trafficking. Since then, police in border towns shifted their focus from cracking down on migrants crossing borders illegally to larger cases involving labour traffickers.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Thai Visa


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  1. Avatar


    Monday, February 15, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    so how come the police/immigration can find and arrest one person for people smuggling but obviously cannot find anyone she has supplied with illegal labour? and it is obvious they cannot find them as no-one has been arrested for employing illegals.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 15, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      There’s an amnesty for the illegals, Me, and for their employers.

      Not much point “finding” them if they’re all putting their hands up shouting “Me”, Me 🙂

  2. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 5:57 am

    I find it hard to believe this woman is the sole “mastermind” (Thai press loves this term!) of this racket.

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 7:30 am

    And old friend told me back a few years ago first it was booze then drugs but now people snuggling no loses all are paid up before they leave if they get cought and are sent back happy to pay again and so on trafficers can’t loose

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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