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Cablegate: Conviction in Anoma Shrimp Factory Labor Trafficking Case

VZCZCXRO1368
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBK #3016 3310844
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270844Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9118
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 7347
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003016

Department for DRL/IL MJunk, G/TIP CChan-Downer, and EAP/MLS
DRichelsoph
DOL/ILAB for Brandie Sasser

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PHUM KTIP TH
SUBJECT: CONVICTION IN ANOMA SHRIMP FACTORY LABOR TRAFFICKING CASE

Sensitive But Unclassified. For Official Use Only.

REF A: BANGKOK 818
REF B: BANGKOK 499
REF B: 08 BANGKOK 2836

1. (SBU) On November 26, a Thai criminal court convicted and
sentenced the two defendants in the forced labor-related human
trafficking (TIP) case involving the "Anoma" shrimp-peeling factory.
According to the case prosecutor with whom we spoke November 27,
the judge sentenced one offender to five years in prison and a 1
million baht fine, and sentenced the second offender to eight years
in prison and a 2 million baht fine. (Note: the case involves the
March 10, 2008 raid on the factory in Samut Sakhon province, and
resultant identification of 73 TIP victims. End Note.).

2. (SBU) While all details regarding the conviction are not yet
available, the defendants were convicted under relevant sections of
Thailand's Immigration Act and "Measures in Prevention and
Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children Act," which
preceded Thailand's comprehensive human trafficking law (the new
trafficking law could not be used since it came into force in June
5, 2008 and the Anoma case preceded it). The prosecutor, who
promised to provide us with full case details in the coming weeks,
explained one defendant received a harsher sentence due to her
denial of all charges, as opposed to the other who pled guilty to
some. The defendants have one month to appeal the decision and may
remain free on bail in the meantime.

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3. (SBU) Comment: While not Thailand's first conviction in a labor
trafficking case, the ruling is significant as it is the first human
trafficking conviction involving Thailand's fisheries-related
industries, to include shrimp processing. Thai government
authorities, civil society, and international organizations have
been increasingly active in their efforts to combat human
trafficking in the sector, especially in light of the international
attention on the problem in recent years. Thai law enforcement
authorities continue to make human trafficking-related arrests in
fisheries-related industries, and the prosecution of the Ranya Paew
shrimp-processing case continues (ref B). As such, we remain
hopeful that this conviction is the first of similar successful
prosecutions to come, however long they may take to achieve. End
Comment.

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