Thailand: Court awards 1.99 million baht to trafficked Myanmar fishers; 6 accused get 10-year prison term

In October 2015, Thai authorities received reports about 15 Myanmar fishers reported to have been suffering from physical violence and wage deprivation on board fishing vessels owned and operated by Thai companies. 

Initially, the court rejected the trafficked victims' request to be considered plaintiffs in the trafficking case because this offence is considered as one against the state. On appeal, the court granted this request and stated that "...The damaged parties should therefore be treated as the persons bearing the direct impact of the act and should be entitled to become co-plaintiffs in the case..."

In January 2018, the Court of Appeals convicted 6 accused traffickers and sentenced them to 10 years in prison. The Court also ordered them to pay the victims 1.99 million baht as compensation.

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Article
30 January 2018

Thailand: Court convicts 6 traffickers of Myanmar fishers; CSO vows to appeal acquittal of boat captain

Author: Chularat Saengpassa, Nation

" Acquitall of fishing boat captain angers human rights campaigners", 31 January 2018

The Human Rights and Development Foundation has pledged to appeal against a court decision to acquit fishing trawler captain Prawit Kimsai over the enslavement of 15 migrants from Myanmar. 

The Court of Appeals...convicted six defendants, including Somphon “Ko Nang” Jirojmontri, former president of Trang’s Fisheries Association, and Wichai Riabroi, a security guard who supervised the human-trafficking victims. It also upheld the lower court’s order that the defendants pay Bt1.99 million compensation to the migrants. 

However, the court upheld Prawit’s appeal...saying there had not been sufficient evidence to back allegations that he had forced the victims to work under harsh conditions. 

However, the court upheld Prawit's appeal against conviction, saying there had not been sufficient evidence to back allegations that he had forced the victims to work under harsh conditions.

“This is an interesting case on debt bondage,” Papop Siamhan, coordinator of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) Anti-Human Trafficking in Labour Project, said...

He said the 15 victims were forced to work like slaves because their agents told them that they had to repay the huge debts incurred in trying to find them jobs in Thailand. 

The case was highlighted in the media in October 2015, when authorities stepped in to help 15 fishing workers from Myanmar who had reportedly been held |captive, subjected to physical |violence and denied their full wages. 

 

 

 

 

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Article
15 August 2016

Thailand: Appeals Court issues groundbreaking decision allowing Myanmar trafficking survivors to become co-plaintiffs in human trafficking suit brought by prosecutor

Author: Human Rights and Development Foundation (Thailand)

"Appeals Court Region 9 overturns previous verdict, allowing Myanmar trafficking survivors to be co-plaintiffs for the human trafficking offence", 8 Aug 2016

…[W]orkers in [the] fishing sector…asked to be co-plaintiffs in the case filed by the Trang public prosecutor against Mrs. Somjit or Mesaw Srisawang and others, altogether 10, for…[a] trafficking in persons offence and violation of the Penal Code…Previously, the Provincial Court of Trang only allowed the victims to be co-plaintiffs on the offences against the Penal Code and dismissed the request to be co-plaintiffs in the human trafficking offence since the Court deemed the offence against the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act B.E 2551 (2008) an offence against the state…The…[aggrieved] parties did not agree with the verdict and submitted an appeal to the Appeals Court Region 9 claiming the infringement has been made directly against their lives, bodies, freedom and health. Therefore, they…have the right to [directly participate in] the criminal justice process and to get their remedies according to the law.

On 26 July 2016, the Provincial Court of Trang…read the verdict of the Appeals Court Region 9 on the request to become co-plaintiffs…[and stated that] “…The damaged parties should therefore be treated as the persons bearing the direct impact of the act and should be entitled to become co-plaintiffs in the case…That the Lower Court had denied them the right to become co-plaintiffs was therefore invalid”…

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