After having explored better-known aspects of Thai society, like Ladyboy and Thai boxers), I wanted to focus on those left behind the recent Thai prosperity, the forced workers in the fishing industry. So I made this photography series called "Slavery at sea".

The US Department of State (TIP report, 2012) estimates that as many as 27 million men, women, and children are currently victims of human trafficking and slavery around the world.

Thailand is the third-largest seafood exporter in the world, after China and Norway, with exports valued by the Food and Agriculture Organization at around $7.3 billion in 2011. The Thai fishing industry extensively relies on slavery and forced labor.

Out of the 2 million Myanmar workers in Thailand, more than 1 million are illegal. The rise in forced labor on Thai fishing boats is linked to the growing global demand for low-cost seafood. The Burmese crews on the fishing boats are treated like modern-day slaves.

Each worker costs about Bt25,000-Bt35,000. The price captains pay for these men is extremely low even by historical standards. Slaves cost 95% less than during the heyday of trafficking in the 19th century, meaning that they are not regarded as long-term investments but as disposable commodities.

Mahachai, unofficially known as “Little Myanmar” is located southwest of Bangkok and crowded with migrant workers from Myanmar. They are employed by Thai employers for the work at seafood factories for minimum wages of Bt200 (5 EUR) per day. The use of trafficked labour is systematic in the Thai fishing industry. Migrant workers in the fishing industry are suffering from terrible abuse and are all too often denied their basic human rights.

Some workers still don't have a status, although many of them have been living here for some time, some even managing to run small businesses like restaurants, bookstores, clothing stores, and hair salons. Although they own small businesses, they still live in fear.

The area is officially under the control of the Thai police department. Migrant workers have to pay a monthly bribe to Thai police officers to avoid the arrest. Police officers usually ask Bt800 per month from a shop owner who does not have all the paperwork. A worker can get arrested easily by police, which makes up stories about their illegal activities. When that happens, a price must be negotiated between the worker and the police.

 

More info: jmclajot.net

#1 A Burmese Migrant Working Illegally In Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok. He Sells Ice Blocks To Shrimp Packers

A Burmese Migrant Working Illegally In Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok. He Sells Ice Blocks To Shrimp Packers

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Person2638 2 months ago

That must be so cold! I would never be able to lift it.

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#2 Burmese Migrant And Her Baby Daughter In A Tenement That Houses Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry

Burmese Migrant And Her Baby Daughter In A Tenement That Houses Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry

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Conrad Strucker 2 months ago

That poor child has to suffer so much more than it deserves

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#3 Burmese Migrant Walks In The Hallway Of The Tenement That Houses Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

Burmese Migrant Walks In The Hallway Of The Tenement That Houses Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

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BeenElle 2 months ago

Anybody know what those plastic baskets are for? Why are they in the hallway?

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#4 Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

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#5 Burmese Illegal Migrants And Fishermen Cleaning Their Nets After Off-Loading The Previous Night's Catch At A Thai Fish Processing Factory

Burmese Illegal Migrants And Fishermen Cleaning Their Nets After Off-Loading The Previous Night's Catch At A Thai Fish Processing Factory

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#6 Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

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#7 Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

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Shiba Inu 2 months ago

i usually go on bored panda and write humorous comments, but this photograph makes me so sad. i live in the usa and we take a lot of things for granted there... we have beautiful homes, pretty furniture, strong buildings, and so much more other things that these people in thailand don't have. i've seen a lot of pictures about other countries that are more poor than we are, but this one really just hurts... why are we living such luxurious lives when these poor people have to live here in poverty? yeah, long comment, but... it's seriously messed up. it makes me so sad.

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#8 Illegal Burmese Workers In Thailand

Illegal Burmese Workers In Thailand

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sharron lynn parsons 2 months ago

Feeling sick to have an idea how those poor people live, if you call it living !!!

#9 Illegal Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port. He Loads Empty Containers Onto A Fishing Boat Docked In Mahachai, Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand

Illegal Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port. He Loads Empty Containers Onto A Fishing Boat Docked In Mahachai, Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand

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Nikki D 2 months ago

I'm surprised this person was allowed to take these pictures. Seems like it could be pretty dangerous.

#10 Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

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Conrad Strucker 2 months ago

People crammed together like they're living in cardboard boxes, it's hard to accept this is happening in our world

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#11 A Burmese Migrant That Works Illegally In A Fish Processing Factory Is Helping Unload The Previous Night's Catch

A Burmese Migrant That Works Illegally In A Fish Processing Factory Is Helping Unload The Previous Night's Catch

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#12 Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port In Mahachai

Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port In Mahachai

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Conrad Strucker 2 months ago

and he would probably get into trouble just for sleeping, or sleeping on the trawler - we take for granted a lot of the basic things we get here in the USA

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#13 Woman Smoking At Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Some Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

Woman Smoking At Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Some Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

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Arie Likes Coffee.... 2 months ago

She's so old and she is smoking..... this woman cannot be healthy enough to work, especially in those dirty conditions...

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#14 Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

Saphan Pla Fish Market In Bangkok, Where Burmese Migrants Are Working Illegally

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#15 Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port In Mahachai

Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To The Port In Mahachai

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Nikki D 2 months ago

How did you get access like this? Really amazing.

#16 Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

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#17 A Burmese Migrant Working Illegally At A Thai-Owned Shrimp Processing Plant In Samut Sakhon, Thailand

A Burmese Migrant Working Illegally At A Thai-Owned Shrimp Processing Plant In Samut Sakhon, Thailand

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Nikki D 2 months ago

Is that all ice?

#18 Burmese Migrants Working Illegally At A Thai-Owned Shrimp Processing Plant In Samut Sakhon, Thailand

Burmese Migrants Working Illegally At A Thai-Owned Shrimp Processing Plant In Samut Sakhon, Thailand

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Victoria 2 months ago

So when we buy those big bags of pre-cleaned prawns from Thailand, are we going to step away and say no? Seriously - are we? Only we as consumers can stop market-driven slavery.

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#19 Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

Tenements That House Burmese Workers In The Thai Fishing Industry In Samut Sakhon

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#20 Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

Illegal Burmese Worker In Thailand

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#21 Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To Thev Port In Mahachai

Burmese Crewman On A Thai Fishing Trawler Coming Back To Thev Port In Mahachai

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Conrad Strucker 2 months ago

Sleep is probably the only escape some of these workers get from their lives....

#22 Illegal Burmese Workers Unload The Catch

Illegal Burmese Workers Unload The Catch

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