There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). 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.
Anchaly, a Cambodian man, was looking for work when a broker told him he could earn good money working on a boat. However, when he arrived, he, along with other men, were told they had been sold.
One day in Thailand I met a broker who persuaded me to work on a boat, he said I could 10,000 baht… When I. arrived at the port I saw 26 Khmer people on board, so I felt ok about it. However, when we were in the middle of the sea, the Thai people told us we had each been sold for 10,000 baht. If we had been near the port I would have jumped overboard to escape. But we were already in the sea so I could not escape… they told me that if I worked slowly it wouldn’t be enough to repay the debt that they paid to the seller. They had paid the broker 10,000 baht for my labour for three years.
Narrative provided by Hagar International, in the report Reintegration of Cambodian Trafficked Men, by Kate Day