BANGKOK, May 6 — Thai police have arrested seven men for allegedly trafficking Thais for illegal fishing activities in Malaysian waters.
Deputy commander of Anti Trafficking in Person Division of the Central Investigation Bureau, Royal Thai Police Pol Col Narong Tesswiboon said the arrest was made on Thursday after an investigation into a case comprising 44 Thai workers on fishing vessels repatriated from Malaysia in September last year where three were later found to be victims of human trafficking.
He said the men arrested included the boat owner and captain as well as five middlemen involved in luring Thais to work on fishing vessels.
He said investigations found that workers were forced to work in a harsh work environment with gruelling working hours for little pay. The workers also suffered physical and mental abuse.
“The workers were not paid, however, they were given a monthly living allowance of RM100 to purchase daily essentials.
“Initial investigation found the workers were lured to work (on fishing vessels) in Malaysian waters. Further investigations are ongoing and Thai police will seek the cooperation of their Malaysian counterparts,” he said at a press conference.
In a video released by officials, a Thai man told his story, where he was duped to work on a fishing vessel in Malaysian waters.
“I wanted to go home because I had nothing to eat… I worked in the fishing boat for more than two years. I didn’t get paid as promised. I worked like a slave,” he said.