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Khin’s story

January. 9, 2018 / Blog The Freedom Fund / @freedom_fund

Our partners in Thailand are tackling forced labour and other abuses in the Thai seafood industry. Forced labour and human trafficking are rampant in the Thai fishing industry, where migrant workers are often lured into situations of slavery aboard fishing vessels and in seafood processing plants.

Supported by the Freedom Fund, a partnership of Thai and migrant-led NGOs is helping to increase migrants’ access to quality services, from rescue and shelter to legal support and reintegration. Community leaders in key ports, transit and processing areas have been trained to provide advice to those at risk. One of our partners, the Foundation for Education and Development (FED) assisted a survivor of human trafficking and forced labour to return home and fight for his right to his back wages.

Khin*, a 47 year-old fisherman, was trafficked with other victims from Myanmar to work on a fishing boat off the coast of Indonesia. He worked for several years on different fishing boats without any basic rights, and endured forced labour. He and other men were forced to work long hours of hard labour without receiving any pay.

“I didn’t know how much my salary was, and we were not allowed to ask,” Khin said. “We had to follow the Thai captain orders, and we were too frightened to raise any complaints.”

Freedom Fund partner FED collaborated with several government agencies to locate and assist Khin and eleven other men. FED provided interpretation, assisted with negotiations, arranged to recover lost wages from the employer, and helped reunite survivors with their families.

Khin returned to his home in Myanmar in 2015. Before he went home, he received all of his back wages that he had earned working as a fisherman.

The Freedom Fund’s Thailand hotspot aims to significantly reduce slavery in the Thai seafood industry. Learn more.

*Name changed to protect the identify of the victim.

Photo credit: Brent Lewin/Freedom Fund