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Thailand ‘Kantang’ case, protection and justice in human trafficking of migrant fishers

ASEAN-ACT partnered with La Trobe University to document experiences of trafficked fishers in the offshore fishing sector in accessing justice. The research aimed to enhance the protection of trafficked fishers by enabling anti-trafficking stakeholders to develop more effective responses based on evidence.

In 2015, Burmese fishers were rescued from fishing vessels in Trang province, Thailand. The fishers had been subjected to forced labour conditions, including confinement, debt bondage and physical abuse. The case was heard in the Trang Provincial Court before being appealed to the Court of Appeal Region IX and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Thailand. Of the 11 defendants charged with human trafficking and related offences, eight were found guilty.

The remaining four defendants – the vessel captains – were found not guilty due to a lack of evidence. Widely referred to as the Kantang case, the case set a legal precedent in recognising debt bondage as a form of human trafficking in Thailand.

Read the full factsheet here.