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MFA Press Release: Thai Courts Delivered a 9-year-and-4-month Prison Sentence for a Human Trafficking Case in the Fisheries Sector and Another 5-year Imprisonment to Government Officials Demanding Benefits from a Human Trafficking Case

On 14 March 2018, the Criminal Court sentenced two defendants on charges of human trafficking on a fishing vessel to a 9-year-and-4-month period in prison. The victim was deceptively taken by an agent to work for the two defendants at the fish market, but was subsequently sent to work on board the fishing vessel “Por. Samutchai 62” which belonged to the first defendant, and where the second defendant was working as the vessel master. While working aboard, the victim did not receive the wages as promised, and was not allowed to have enough rest and food, and thus later filed a complaint to police officers against the two defendants.

In addition, on 27 March 2018, the Criminal Court issued a 5-year imprisonment verdict on four defendants, who were former police officers, on charges of demanding benefits from the trafficking of 40 Rohingya migrants in Songkla Province, and the illegal release of the offenders in 2016. The Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission identified the case as a criminal offense and serious breach of discipline, and thereafter the Office of Special Attorney in charge of anti-corruption cases transmitted the case to the Criminal Court in March 2017. The Royal Thai Police has additionally expulsed the four police officers in this regard. On the same day, the Prime Minister also issued an order to remove 13 other police officers from office for allegedly being involved in four cases of human trafficking, which are now under investigation for further disciplinary and criminal punishments.

The rulings in these two cases demonstrate the Royal Thai Government’s serious commitment in systematically tackling the human trafficking and issuing severe punishment to any government officials engaging in human trafficking especially in the fisheries sector. From 2015 until now, Thai authorities have prosecuted and concluded 40 out of 85 cases of human trafficking in the fisheries sector, with the maximum imprisonment of 11 years.

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