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Saw Law Eh

2011 (Narrative Date)

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Labour trafficking victims are exploited in commercial fishing and related industries, the poultry industry, manufacturing, agriculture, and domestic work, or forced into street begging. 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. 

Saw Law Eh is one of an estimated 150,000 people who have fled Burma’s civil war and now live in one of nine camps along the Thai border.

On the way there we were all in a van and there were two policemen who went ahead on a motorbike. There was one more who stayed with us, he spoke into his radio to keep in touch with the others the whole way.

The first place I worked was a clothing factory. We worked from six in the morning until nine at night. We were not allowed outside and we each had to pay the police 500 baht every month. We had to buy all our food there. The owner sold it to us. By the end of the month, after we took out the cost of food and the money for the police, there was almost nothing left. 

Narrative provided by Radio Free Asia