Dan Rivers returns to look at slavery in Thailand
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Dan Rivers returns to look at slavery in Thailand


From a thriving industry in southeast Asia, the catch might end up on dinner plates almost anywhere in the world.

But you might be shocked to know how these fish are caught. Sometimes the boats are floating prisons crewed by slaves.

In this video report above, CNN’s Dan Rivers explores the story of brothers Pheum Dina and Pheum Bolin, who were lured from Cambodia to work on the fishing boats three years ago. They say they were imprisoned on a Thai trawler for 3 months – with no pay and no chance to escape. They were slaves at sea.

BP: Such stories are not uncommon. The Bangkok Post article from 2009 mostly about rural Thais. Key excerpts:

Sombat’s story is not unique. It is estimated that more than 1,000 Thais have been lured by human-traffickers to work as slaves on fishing trawlers in the waters of neighbouring countries, according to Suwan Promphol, director of Provincial Protection and Occupational Development Centre for Men, which is under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

Hua Lamphong railway station, Mor Chit bus terminal and Sanam Luang are the major spots where trafficking gangs try and lure naive travellers in need of money. Mainly, the targets are from the northeast, and have come to Bangkok to look for job opportunities. Many know nothing about the capital and have no relatives there.

BP: But then again, we are only talking about poor Thais and Cambodians so coverage by the Thai media well will be limited….

btw, if the name Dan Rivers does not ring a bell. He was a Bangkok-based correspondent for CNN. Dan had reported extensively on the Rohingya in 2009 and obtained photos showing the Thai military was pushing Rohingya boats out to sea – see posts here and here. Dan’s coverage won the Amnesty International Media Award and a George Polk Award for International Television Reporting.

When the red shirt protests started in 2010, Dan was, of course, reporting on what was happening. His reporting was not liked by many Thais. BP looked at some of the critics of Dan here – for details on some of the attacks, see here, here, and here (some of the attacks were not just online threats either, but included repeated threats) and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say he was viewed by many as “Public Enemy No. 1”. Dan then moved (the blog post by Nirmal has a good summary) to London at the end of last year.

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