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Cablegate: Tip Update: Anoma Factory Investigation Concludes; Case Now

VZCZCXRO5521
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBK #2836/01 2620724
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180724Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4396
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 5649
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002836

Department for G/TIP MTaylor, DRL MJunk
DOL/ILAB for Brandie Sasser

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PHUM KTIP TH
SUBJECT: TIP UPDATE: ANOMA FACTORY INVESTIGATION CONCLUDES; CASE NOW
WITH THE COURTS

BANGKOK 00002836 001.2 OF 002


Sensitive But Unclassified. For Official Use Only.

REF A: BANGKOK 1063

Investigation Concludes
-----------------------
1. (SBU) Summary: The Thai police confirmed September 2 that the
investigation into the Anoma factory trafficking in persons case was
completed and filed August 19 with the office of Attorney General of
Samut Sakhon province. Twenty civil and criminal charges were filed
against two Thai citizens in the case, which the Attorney General in
Samut Sakhon confirmed was submitted September 10 to the courts. A
preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 13. The police
confirmed that the Anoma factory remains in operation, although with
fewer workers than on the day of the March 10 raid. They also
confirmed that while trafficked victims have been provided with
social services in Thai government shelters, they remain unable to
work until already drafted implementing regulations for the new
trafficking law are approved through a RTG cabinet reslution. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) On September 2 Emboff spoke with the Thai police
inspector's ofice of the city district of Samut Sakhon, whichconfirmed that it
had completed the investigation into the Anoma
factory trafficking in persons (TIP) case (ref a) and filed it
August 19 with the office of Attorney General of Samut Sakhon. The
Police explained they filed twenty civil and criminal charges
against two Thai citizens in the case: the owner of the Anoma
factory and her brother the factory manager. The charges include
putting workers into slavery situation (unofficial translation from
the Thai criminal code), providing shelter to illegal migrants, and
not allowing time-off for workers. The police noted they have
expanded the investigation in search of five Burmese labor brokers
suspected of bringing Burmese migrants to the factory for a high
fee, causing some to enter into debt bondage.

3. (SBU) The office of the Attorney General in Samut Sakhon
confirmed September 16 that it submitted the case September 10 to
the responsible court, which has scheduled a preliminary hearing for
October 13. Should the defendants plea not guilty, a trial will
then proceed.

4. (SBU) The police investigation found that while the Anoma
factory was registered with the Ministry of Commerce, it did not
have a factory license as required from the Ministry of Industry's
Department of Industrial Works. The police, and NGO contacts in
Samut Sakhon, also confirmed that the Anoma factory remains in
operation, although with fewer workers than on the day of the March
10 raid.

5. (SBU) Police, Ministry, and NGO contacts also made clear the
difficulty of preventing, investigating, and prosecuting TIP cases
in Samut Sakhon given the number of illegal or otherwise
unregistered workers in the area. According to the Ministry of
Commerce, there are more than 7,690 businesses registered in Samut
Sakhon province but only thirty labor inspectors assigned to the
area. According to the Ministry of Labor's Department of
Employment, there are an estimated 220,000 legal and illegal migrant
workers in the area, of which only 76,059 are illegal migrants who
have registered with the government and received work permits. As
the police explained, unless migrant worker registration is
up-to-date and fully enforced, it is difficult to arrest
traffickers, the number of which some believe is growing in Samut
Sakhon province.

Victims Receive Assistance, But Unable to Work
--------------------------------------------- -
6. (SBU) Police contacts also noted that more than seventy
trafficked victims from the Anoma case (of which ten are children)
remain in the Thai government-provided shelters at Baan Kredtrakarn
and Baan Poomvet in Pak Kred, Bangkok. While the victims have been
provided with social services, they remain unable to work despite
the new Anti-Trafficking law's stipulation that trafficked persons
may temporarily work in Thailand while their case proceeds through
the courts.

7. (SBU) A legal officer in Thai Ministry of Labor's Department of
Employment explained this is because the RTG still needs to finalize
implementing regulations for the new trafficking law. To this end,
the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) has
created draft regulations for cabinet approval, which would
reconcile procedures under the new trafficking law with those in
place under relevant immigration laws and the law on the employment
of foreign workers. While finalized, the draft regulations have yet
to be approved at the cabinet level.

8. (U) Note: According to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), the

BANGKOK 00002836 002.2 OF 002


Immigration Act generally prohibits migrants who come into Thailand
illegally from working. There is an exception for illegal migrants
from Laos, Cambodia, and Burma who arrived prior to 2004 per a
cabinet resolution of the same year. Individuals covered under this
exception received temporary passports and certificates of
identification, which allowed them to temporarily stay and work in
Thailand. The temporary passports and work permits must be renewed
by the MOL annually. Illegal migrants who came into Thailand after
2004 remain unable to work. End Note.

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