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Thai police and a labour rights group have rescued 74 Burmese migrants, including children, from a factory in Mahachai, near Bangkok.
The NGO known as the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LRPNF) says it received information that workers in a shrimp factory were suffering abuse.
On 9 November, Thai authorities and LRPNF volunteers raided the factory and rescued the migrants – including 16 children, according to the group’s manager Khun Patima.
“A couple complained on 26 October that workers were being abused there. The wife of the couple was forcibly taken by the factory bosses. We verified the information and raided the factory together with the special investigation team, local police, Thai navy personnel, and other workers from protection groups.
“We found migrants were forced to work together with children under 18 [years of age], some under 15 as well. They are all from Burma,” she told DVB, adding that the factory owner had confessed to the abuse.
The migrants in the factory were allegedly forced to work from 2am to 6pm, and were paid between 100 and 150 baht per day, well below the 300 daily minimum wage in Thailand. Guards were assigned to prevent workers from escaping.
Many had their wages skimmed to pay for brokers who had reportedly sent them, according to Khun Patima.
Of the 74 rescued workers, 21 were found to be under 18 years of age, with another three under 15 years of age. Most had no documentation allowing them to work in Thailand, and those without proper paperwork are being investigated for violating trafficking and immigration laws, Khun Patina said.
The workers are currently being sheltered at a rescue centre while the investigation takes place.
Meanwhile, migrant workers in a Bangkok tuna processing factory protested on 11 November, as their employees rejected attempted negotiations to end the long-running dispute.
The Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA) had requested the matter be resolved by 11 November, but talks failed to come to resolution. In response, TTIA has reached out to Migrant Workers Rights Network, asking them to “seek justice form Thai authorities”, according to Undercurrent News.