Traffickers jailed over child flower sellers

The Mae Sot Provincial Court has jailed a Myanmar migrant couple for exploiting and trafficking in child labour. (Photo via Google Maps)

The Mae Sot Provincial Court has sentenced two men in a human trafficking case to 12 years in jail and ordered them to pay almost 1.3 million baht in compensation to the victims, according to the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF).

According to a statement released Tuesday by the organisation, the court ruled on Sept 17 in the case filed against a Myanmar migrant couple, Mrs Zarabi Abdullah and Charlie (last name unknown). Both were convicted under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2008 and the Child Protection Act 2003..

In the statement on Jan 22 this year, the HRDF said its Mae Sot Labour Clinic and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) had assisted a migrant worker in reporting to police that his 14-year-old nephew, known as “Min” in court, had been lured by brokers from Myanmar to work in Thailand.

Min had allegedly been sent to work for an employer in Nonthaburi in 2014 selling flowers at night to tourists on Khao San Road in Bangkok. While selling flowers, he managed to escape and had sought help and complained about being abused by the employer.

On Feb 4 this year, police from Nonthaburi, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division and officers from Mae Sot arrested the employer at a residence in Nonthaburi. Only the employer was found there and no other children were found during the raid.

Another perpetrator was also taken into custody; the person who drove the children to work and picked them up afterwards.

The statement said the ruling illustrates a pervasive form of trafficking in persons in Thailand including the use of forced child labour.

The HRDF urged the Thai government to pay more attention to this problem and come up with policies for the effective prevention of all forms of trafficking against children.

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