Fight slavery in the Thai chicken industry - FreedomUnited.org
Campaign Update:

July 11, 2018: Great news! Today, a Bangkok Court read its verdict in the criminal defamation case filed against the 14 workers and found them not guilty. This is a landmark ruling for migrant workers’ rights in Thailand, but we are still waiting to see the 14 Myanmar workers receive the compensation they are owed.

Fight slavery in the Thai chicken industry

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“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

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

These workers are now safe, sheltered by our partner the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) in Thailand. However, with no means to survive, they urgently need to receive their owed compensation to rebuild their lives and find decent work.

The 14 workers told 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 are one of Thailand’s largest chicken exporters, supplying chicken for pet food and ready-made meals, and until recently, were a major buyer from this farm.2  They have the power to make sure these workers receive owed compensation, but we’re pretty sure they won’t do it unless they feel public pressure. Will you help?

Reports we have since received, suggest that exploitation is widespread in Thailand’s poultry industry – with similar cases found in other chicken farms.

Call on Betagro to show responsibility by investigating conditions for all workers in their poultry supply chains and ensuring these 14 survivors receive their owed compensation without delay.

Nan Win’s Story

Nan Win Thai Chicken IndustryNan Win grew up in Myanmar, earning a meagre living growing rice and beans. With a need to provide more for his family, he made the decision to migrate to Thailand to work for a commercial chicken farm. But it was far from what he expected.
“I think it is like modern slavery, because we had to work so hard and got so little money.”

Nan Win’s passport was taken, his movements were controlled, and he worked 19 hours for at least 40 consecutive days, receiving just a fraction of  what he was owed — the equivalent of just 45 cents an hour. He slept in a room next to 28,000 chickens, constantly monitoring the power supply to industrial fans to ensure the chickens didn’t overheat.

His opportunity to escape came when he spotted something on social media from local organization MWRN. He made contact, which led the way for the escape of all 14 workers.3

Photograph by Maximillian Scott-Murray
Maximilliansm.com

  • July 11, 2018: Great news! Today, a Bangkok Court read its verdict in the criminal defamation case filed against the 14 workers and found them not guilty. This is a landmark ruling for migrant workers’ rights in Thailand, but we are still waiting to see the 14 Myanmar workers receive the compensation they are owed.

  • July 2018: The verdict on the workers’ case is expected to be heard on July 11.

  • February 2018: The trial against the 14 workers on criminal defamation charges began on February 7 and has been adjourned until April.

  • 14 September 2017: Following the employer’s appeal of the lower court’s decision, the Thai Supreme Court upheld the award of 1.7 million Thai Baht (US$52,000) in compensation to the 14 workers. Criminal charges, brought by the employer against the workers and human rights activist Andy Hall, remain.

  • 17 March 2017: Thai courts have ordered the chicken farm owner to pay 1.7 million Thai Baht in compensation to the workers in recognition of the exploitation they experienced. This falls far short of the full amount lawyers were pursuing for the workers. Private negotiations to resolve the case between all parties has broken down and criminal charges of defamation brought against the workers by the chicken farm owner are ongoing.

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51 Comments on "Fight slavery in the Thai chicken industry"

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Slavica Mazak Beslic MD
Guest

Killers ! They kill chickens, persons – they are the killers !

Slavica Mazak Beslic MD
Guest

Chickens are sentient animals, persons , the same like their kikllers . They kill a persons !

Luigi
Guest

Is outrageous that Thailand had not forced the company to paid and condemn for the forced slavery. Hope they will get Justice and assistance.

Philippe Auroi
Guest

It’s important to know that Betagro products are sold in Europe https://www.pressreader.com/thailand/the-nation/20160526/281535110232119
European consumers cannot support companies making business with Betagro unless they leverage their bargaining power to influence this company. European companies are not resposible for what happens in Asia but they have the legal obligation to manage a due diligence process.

Paul Codd
Guest

Phillipe – I disagree that EU companies are not responsible. All companies are responsible for their supply chains, no matter where they are. If there are reports of wrong-doing, they should investigate and take corrective action, or if necesary as in this case, replace the supplier. Anything less is to profit from the expoitation and therefore be complicit in the perpetuation of modern slavery.

Philippe Auroi
Guest

Hi Paul
I think we exactly say the same thing with different words ^^
When I write “they have the legal obligation to manage a due diligence process.” it means identify, mitigate, monitor.
Companies always have to be careful when making the decision to replace a supplier, it’s always better to try a collaboration in order to improve situation (possibly with the help of a local NGO).Brutal ending of business relationship can have impact on the life of employees “do no harm” principle.

BETAGRO: Address exploitation in your supply chain

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83,612

FAO: Betagro C.E.O. Mr. Vanus Taepaisitphongse, Member of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association

Dear C.E.O. Mr. Vanus Taepaisitphongse,

I am shocked and horrified to learn that labor exploitation has been uncovered in the poultry supply chains of Betagro. As one of the largest food companies in Thailand, Betagro has a responsibility to lead the way in fighting exploitation in the poultry industry and ensure its products are slavery-free.

I urge Betagro to stop delisting suppliers that fail to meet labor standard practices and instead work within your supply chains to ensure all workers are fairly treated.

I call on Betagro to:

1. Ensure that all 14 workers from Thammakaset Farm 2 are paid compensation immediately, in line with Thai labor laws, taking into account additional rights violations and rights for damages under criminal and civil law;

2. Investigate working conditions in all your poultry supply chains and resolve further uncovered cases of exploitation and ensure all workers are able to raise grievances.

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