Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Enslaved people are 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. People are also often exploited in sea-food pre-processing facilities, with reports of men, women and children working excessive hours in oppressive and abusive conditions. Though the Thai Government have reportedly accelerated efforts to combat labour exploitation, most workers in the Thai fishing sectors remain unregistered.
Min Aung was enslaved in a shrimp factory along with his pregnant wife where they were subjected to long working hours under the constant threat of violence. Min Aung worked at the factory for two years before he was able to leave.
My income wasn’t enough to make ends meet. We didn’t have enough food to eat.
I didn’t know the agent personally, but out neighbour, who was a monk did. The monk said he could help me but I would have to take my wife, I could not go alone. I told him my wife was pregnant and couldn’t work. He said “Just go, the agent will only take couples and they need workers now”.
The work was to peel shrimp. We arrived at 4pm. They told me to start working at 1am, they told us both to work. The work would be complete around 5pm. Sometimes we would only finish at 8pm.
The work was very stressful. We always had to rush to peel the skins off. The less we peeled the less we earned. After working there for a month, I went and asked for my first pay cheque. They said I had nothing, and that I owed them money.
Three women and a man tried to run away. One of the women knew all the escape routes. She was beaten and her head was shaved. The boss told one of his men, to drag her into a room and rape her.
The boss said he had paid the police and he was not afraid of them. Because of this corruption, the boss could afford to be brutal to the workers. All the workers were afraid of him.
I call that shrimp factory a prison. I worked there for two years.
As told to documentary makers at MTV Exit.