IJM supported Thai authorities and our partners to investigate the case, leading to the arrest of the husband and wife on 28 August 2018. After their arrest, the couple was denied bail and has been in jail as the trial progressed. This is the first case of labour trafficking that IJM has supported in Thailand to result in convictions.
Nearly a third had witnessed a crewmate’s abuse at sea, and one in seven were physically abused themselves. A stunning 76.2% accrued debt prior to even beginning work.
And it’s not just men who are targeted—following last summer’s arrests in this case, Sansana Kaewtuptim, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Anti-Trafficking Crime in Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation, shared,
In Thailand, prosecutions of cases of forced labour trafficking on Thai fishing boats are rare—and convictions are even more uncommon. In 2017, the last year in which Thai government data is available, only 2% of trafficking prosecutions in Thailand were in cases of forced labour on fishing boats. And when trafficking cases are successfully prosecuted, the sentences tend to be low: 33% of trafficking convictions resulted in sentences over 10 years in 2017.
The strength of the penalties in this case—36 years imprisonment, reduced by half to 18 years by the guilty plea—is a significant sign of forward momentum.
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