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SEEKONK, MASSACHUSETTS, United States

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Workers in Thailand found not guilty! Miriam Karmali, Freedom United.


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Dear David,

We have some good news to share! Last week, a Bangkok court found the 14 Myanmar workers not guilty as charged by the chicken farm where they were exploited. This is a landmark ruling for labor and human rights in Thailand and it is with great relief that we welcome the verdict issued in favor of the workers.

These charges of criminal defamation were brought against the workers by the chicken farm after the workers submitted a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. Their complaint details conditions of being forced to work for up to 20 hours a day, having their documents and passports withheld, and restrictions to their freedom of movement. Whilst at the farm, the workers report being forced to sleep amongst the chickens.

Having taken into account all evidence submitted by the workers, the Court ruled that it was confident the workers had suffered human rights abuses during the time they worked at the farm. The past two years have been difficult for the workers, who have bravely taken on big business to secure their rights whilst still not receiving a cent of compensation, thanks to the support of the Migrant Workers Rights Network. But we are hopeful that this verdict is a sign of yet more change to come.

Sign to add your support for the 14 workers.

The chicken farm is still pursuing two of the workers on theft charges for taking their own time cards to prove the long hours they were forced to work and compensation they are owed. This is part of a systematic attempt to harass the workers and those supporting them. Both MWRN and Andy Hall also continue to face spurious charges of defamation and ‘computer crimes’ for sharing information on social media about their case.

The UN Human Rights Council heard the case of these 14 workers just a few weeks ago in Geneva, when Human Rights Now expressed their deep concern about the labor rights violations and slavery-like conditions in the Thai chicken industry. We are encouraged to see international attention brought to the workers’ case but we still need to grow our voice and keep up the pressure to stop this judicial harassment.
 

Whilst the workers are still waiting to receive their owed compensation, we are hopeful that the Court’s ruling will send a clear message to big business that spiteful retaliations to legitimate worker complaints of exploitation and modern slavery will no longer be an easy way out.

In solidarity,

Miriam, Joanna and the Freedom United team