There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.
In March 2013 San Htike Win was rescued from a Thai fishing vessel in Katang. Following his rescue he was held in a police station before being moved to a government run shelter in Ranong. After 11 months in the shelter, San Ktike Win tells of his frustration at the slow court process.
When I got in contact with my mum through a friend, she was so happy and begged me to come back. But I had to tell her that we can’t leave the shelter – we have to stay here from sunrise to sunset.
I’ve been in this shelter for 11 months but I’ve only been to court twice. The criminals that were arrested have admitted their crimes but the Thai authorities are taking much longer to process our case than is necessary.
I really want to go home, to where my parents are. My desire to go back is getting stronger everyday.
Narrative provided by Environmental Justice Foundation in their report ‘Slavery at Sea: The Continued Plight of Trafficked Migrants in Thailand’s Fishing Industry’