Thailand police arrest 7 for alleged forced fishing labour

This morning, police arrested 7 people in 3 provinces across Thailand for allegedly supplying forced labour on fishing boats. This news comes after 3 Thai workers were repatriated from Malaysia in September last year, after being forced to work on a fishing boat, without oversight from authorities.

The 7 arrested today were captured in raids in Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, and Chanthaburi provinces. They included the captain of a fishing boat, and the boat’s owner. The other 5 allegedly supplied forced labour, according to a deputy national police chief.

Thailand has a problem with trafficking and slave labour in its fishing industry. Despite the government forming teams of officials to check fishing boats when they depart and arrive in port, the problem continues as the traffickers find new and creative ways over getting around too much oversight.

In 2014, the government introduced the ‘pink card’ registration scheme. The scheme requires fishers to get permission from specific employers in order to change jobs. Human Rights Watch claims this requirement makes it easy to abuse workers.

Apart from the fishing industry, trafficking is a rampant, highly reported problem in Thailand. Last month, police seized assets valued at more than 1 billion baht from human trafficking operations where Burmese people were trafficked from the northern province of Tak down to the Malaysian border.

More suspects, allegedly from the same group, were arrested in September 2019 in the neighbouring province Nakhon Si Thammarat, according to police. Both Thai and Burmese nationals were said to be involved in the trafficking.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Human Rights Watch

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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