“We were treated like slaves, all day and all night we had to work. I don’t want anyone else to have to face the same ordeal.” Nayto, Survivor
In late June 2016, 14 migrant workers escaped a chicken farm in the Lopburi region of Thailand. Their reports of harsh treatment, exhaustive hours and despicable work conditions made instant headlines.1
The 14 workers told Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) that they were subjected to abusive supervisors, working hours that stretched through the day and night. With little to no time off, they endured terrible living conditions – sometimes forced to sleep alongside the hatchlings. Trapped on an isolated farm, workers could only leave for a single two-hour supervised trip per week. Their passports were confiscated, preventing them from leaving.
“I worked for 4 and a half years, often cramming 2 days’ work into one. I’m tired now and want to go home.” Myint, Survivor.
Betagro is one of Thailand’s largest chicken exporters, supplying chicken for pet food and ready-made meals, used to buy from this farm but recently cut ties.2 Yet by cutting off this supplier, there is little leverage to rectify abuses and promote improved labor protections down their supply chain.
Since launching this campaign in 2016, Thai courts have ordered compensation for the workers, but they and other human rights defenders are not in the clear just yet.
The farm owner continues to press defamation charges against Nan Win — one of the 14 workers — and Thai human rights activist Sutharee Wannasiri for speaking out about the abuses.3
Based on on-the-ground reports, exploitation is a chronic problem across Thailand’s poultry industry. Farm workers and their allies should never face industry retaliation for exposing labor violations.
Stand with migrant workers in the Thai poultry industry who fight for justice and demand an end to their harassment.
Photograph by Maximillian Scott-Murray
- https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/aug/01/thai-chicken-farm-workers-slept-on-the-floor-next-to-28000-birds ↩
- https://coconuts.co/yangon/news/modern-day-slavery-thai-food-giant-drops-chicken-farm-over-abuse-myanmar-workers/ ↩
- https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/thailand-judicial-harassment-of-ms-sutharee-wannasiri-and-mr-nan-win ↩
- http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-01/case-of-chicken-farm-slaves-highlights-thai-labour-problems/7561714 ↩