It is estimated that 425,500 people are enslaved in Thailand, with the many subjected to forced labour. Women overseas-workers most often find employment in private households or service sectors, often finding themselves having to pay significant fees for the migration and recruitment process. Domestic servitude is also prevalent with the majority of enslaved being women from rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Victims are often physically and sexually abused, confined to the house and find their pay and identity documents withheld.
Buy fled his home in Myanmar after he was forced to join the army and travelled to Thailand. In Thailand, Buy worked for two or three years in the agricultural sector without pay. When he did start asking for the wages that were owed to him, his employers called the police, and because he was undocumented, Buy was arrested. Buy found his way to the Chai Lai Eco Retreat which helps undocumented workers who have been trafficked in Thailand. They assisted him in getting a passport and work permit which ensures he is paid minimum wage.
I had to join the army, but I didn’t want to go. I was scared, so I fled to Thailand. I worked for around two, or three years. But I was never paid any money. I take care of the buffalo, and take care of the corn. That was my job. The work was very hard. I started at eight in the morning, and finished sometimes at nine o’clock at night. No holiday, always working. I worked for 3 years, but they never paid me. I said, if you don’t pay me then I have no money. How can I live? I need to buy clothes, and food. I need to eat. But they still wouldn’t pay me. So I said, I’m sorry, I have to leave. But before, when I was working there, I did not have a passport. So because of this problem, I had to go to jail.
I really like the trainer. She helped me a lot. Before I didn’t have a passport, but she arranged a passport for me. Sometimes I want to go back. But if I go I think I will have problems with the army. So I’ll stay in Thailand.
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