Human Traffic Watch

Archive for the ‘Bonded Labor’ Category

Special Report: Thailand secretly supplies Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on December 6, 2013 at 10:19 am
Ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar wave as they are transported by a wooden boat to a temporary shelter in Krueng Raya in Aceh Besar, in this file picture taken April 8, 2013.  CREDIT: REUTERS/JUNAIDI HANAFIAH/FILES

Ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar wave as they are transported by a wooden boat to a temporary shelter in Krueng Raya in Aceh Besar, in this file picture taken April 8, 2013.
CREDIT: REUTERS/JUNAIDI HANAFIAH/FILES

One afternoon in October, in the watery no-man’s land between Thailand and Myanmar, Muhammad Ismail vanished.

Thai immigration officials said he was being deported toMyanmar. In fact, they sold Ismail, 23, and hundreds of other Rohingya Muslims to human traffickers, who then spirited them into brutal jungle camps.

As thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar to escape religious persecution, a Reuters investigation in three countries has uncovered a clandestine policy to remove Rohingya refugees from Thailand’s immigration detention centers and deliver them to human traffickers waiting at sea.

The Rohingya are then transported across southern Thailand and held hostage in a series of camps hidden near the border with Malaysia until relatives pay thousands of dollars to release them. Reporters located three such camps – two based on the testimony of Rohingya held there, and a third by trekking to the site, heavily guarded, near a village called Baan Klong Tor.

Thousands of Rohingya have passed through this tropical gulag. An untold number have died there. Some have been murdered by camp guards or have perished from dehydration or disease, survivors said in interviews.

Source: Reuters

Uzbekistan falls under US sanctions on human trafficking

In Bonded Labor, Child Labor, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on July 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm

“According to a variety of sources, the government of Uzbekistan enforced a decree resulting in a sweeping reduction of the number of children under 15 years of age in the 2012 cotton harvest, but the government continued to subject older children and adult laborers to forced labor in that harvest,” states the 2013 Trafficking in Persons report.

Independent sources report that forced child labor was used in the spring of 2013 for weeding of cotton fields.

“One activist reported at least one case of a mental hospital subjecting its patients to domestic servitude,” write the author’s in the TIP Report. “In addition, there are recent reports that teachers, students (including children), employees in private businesses, and others have been forced by the government to work in construction, agriculture, and in cleaning parks.”

Furthermore, some Uzbekistani men and women are subjected to forced labor outside of their country. Seasonal workers from Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, Russia, and—to a much lesser extent—Ukraine occasionally fall victim to forced labor in domestic service, agriculture, and the construction and oil industries.

Source: Uz News

Thailand ignoring slaves at sea, says EJF report on Burmese migrants

In Awareness, Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on July 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thailand is facing fresh allegations of using slave labour in its fishing industry with the launch of a new investigation into the sale, abuse and exploitation of migrant workers on Thai fishing ships.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), an environmental and human rights NGO, highlights the case of 15 Burmese men who had been rescued from boats in its report Sold to the Sea: human trafficking in Thailand’s fishing industry (pdf). All of the men claim to have been deceived by labour brokers and forced to work up to 20 hours a day for months at a time with little or no pay on shrimping boats in Kantang, a city in the south of Thailand.

The men had been subjected to bonded labour, forced detention, and abuse and beatings by senior crew while working on ships operating in Thai waters, according to EJF.

Two of the men reported seeing fellow migrant workers tortured and executed for trying to escape, and witnessing the murder of at least five other men. Another man reported multiple murders and bodies being thrown out to sea with the crew forced to watch.

Source: The Guardian (video available at the link)

Fishing Company Owner Awaiting Sentence for Trafficking

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on June 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

The owner of a major fishing company is now in jail and awaiting sentencing for alleged human trafficking, in a case that highlights the major dangers faced by unwitting workers forced to labor in international waters.

Lin Yu Shin, the owner of the Giant Ocean International Fishery, is accused of trafficking hundreds of Cambodians and sending them to work in slave-like conditions on fishing vessels around the world. Authorities say her case underscores the need for better education about lawful migration and the dangers of illegal work abroad.

Lin was arrested in Siem Reap province in May and is currently in Prey Sar prison awaiting sentencing. The 53-year-old woman is accused of trafficking mostly male workers from rural communities into the international fishing industry.

Source: VOA

Forced labour on Thai fishing boats

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on June 11, 2013 at 8:30 am


A new report by the London-based Environmental Justice Foundation estimates 27 million people are victims of human trafficking around the world. Many are sold into sex slavery. But in Thailand, men are being trafficked to work in the fishing industry. They are forced to labour for up to 20 hours a day with little or no pay. The UN has found that nearly 60 percent have witnessed the murder of a fellow worker. Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay reports from Thailand.

More Than 500 Indians Abused by Human Trafficking, Lawyer Says

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on June 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

In October 2006, Signal allegedly started bringing in more than 500 Indian guest workers this way, employing them as pipe fitters, welders and ship fitters.

The men had to eat in company cafeterias and pay more than $1,000 a month to live in company man camps – trailers with beds stacked inside them, and one or two bathrooms to be shared between 20 to 24 men. The camps were fenced and segregated from other Signal employees, and the men were told that the money for the camps would be taken out of their pay whether they chose to live there or not, Landers said.

If workers complained they were told their H-2B visas would not be renewed by the company. That pretty much tied their hands because Signal was the company that got the H-2B visas. An H-2B visa keeps the worker tethered to the company that procures the visa so finding another visa would be a challenge, to say the least.

Source: Houston Press

Human Trafficking Report Roils Thai Fishing Industry

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on June 2, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thailand is doing little to prevent the human trafficking of workers coming from other countries, and many of these indentured servants are finding their way to the fishing industry, where they are forced to work on vessels engaged in illegal, or pirate, fishing, a new report says.

The trafficked workers are subject to long hours, little or no pay and physical and mental abuse up to and including murder, with 59% of Thai fishing workers who were surveyed by the United Nations in 2009 saying they had seen a fellow worker murdered, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation report, “Sold to the Sea–Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry”, released Wednesday.

Because of Thailand’s tight labor market, many people coming to the country for work wind up in fisheries, where they are subject to horrific working conditions, the report said. Many of these workers end up on illegal fishing vessels, and a recent report from the environmental group Oceana found up to 20% of the world’s fish are caught illegally.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

American Dream Turns to Nightmare for Teen Trafficked for Labor

In Bonded Labor, Child Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on May 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Gerthon Saint Preux wanted only one thing as a teenager living in Haiti: to live the American dream. But after he arrived here, he realized he was living the dark nightmare of a child trafficked for labor.

A woman from his hometown said she would be his sponsor in the U.S., so Saint Preux left his family for the chance to go to college and one day support his loved ones. When he arrived, his sponsor put him to work at her store, and also gave him chores in her home.
There was always a reason why he couldn’t start school. And when his visitor’s visa ended, it only got worse.
“From there, I could see hell,” Saint Preux told NBC 4 New York.
He worked at the sponsor’s store seven days a week and then cooked and cleaned at her house, without ever being paid. He ate scraps and was forbidden to even sleep on the couch.
“She said I’m damaging the couch. I have to sleep on the floor, but the floor has carpet. I just put a pillow there and I sleep,” he said.
The sponsor monitored Saint Preux’s phone calls and convinced him that police were his enemy, he says. Even though he interacted with people every day in her store, he never spoke up or asked for help. The terrified teen even considered suicide.
“I look for a truck to just throw myself under a truck. I don’t want to suffer — I want a truck to just hit me on the highway and I’m done,” Saint Preux recalled thinking.
Source: NBC New York

Anti-trafficking tsar warns employers: We will punish you for slave labour

In Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Involuntary Domestic Servitude on February 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

The man charged with stopping modern-day slavery in Wales has warned employers who use labour exploitation: “We will bring you to justice.”

Stephen Chapman, Wales’ new anti-human trafficking coordinator, said the excuse that employers “do not know” their workers are trafficked would not wash.

He said anyone using trafficked workers could face prosecution.

Mr Chapman said: “Employers have a duty of care when they employ people. It is no use making an excuse.

“If you are paying below the market price for people you have got to be asking ‘Where are these people from?’”

 

Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2013/02/02/anti-trafficking-tsar-warns-employers-we-will-punish-you-for-slave-labour-91466-32732809/#ixzz2JsvBvMq4

It’s Human Trafficking Prevention Month, But Is Awareness Enough?

In Bonded Labor, Child Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Involuntary Domestic Servitude on January 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

With President Obama’s proclamation of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, public awareness efforts are being conducted nationwide. When there are approximately 27 million people enslaved in the world, we can hardly ignore such a pressing human rights issue and awareness is an important response. But even more troubling, only 42,000 of the 27 million enslaved were identified last year — less than one percent. Twelve years ago, the United States first enacted modern laws to address modern slavery, or human trafficking. Since then, awareness campaigns worldwide have brought attention to human trafficking. But to shrink the enormous gap between those enslaved and those who have been identified, it’s now time to transform that awareness into action.

Globally, 78 percent of those enslaved are in forced labor. According to the Department of Labor, they are extracting, harvesting or producing different goods in countries worldwide. Therefore slavery is nearly inevitable in the supply chains of the products we buy. The good news is that not all companies are shying away from this issue. In fact, the last several months have seen the emergence of several new efforts, including the Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking and the Walkfree Pledge, to encourage brands and corporations to take stand against slavery.

Source: Huffington Post

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