Thai police raided a small Bangkok factory where they found 18 Cambodian teenagers, who were allegedly forced to work in deplorable conditions, The Bangkok Post reported Saturday.
Police discovered the teens, three of whom were girls, had been working 14-hour days in an unventilated, garbage-strewn factory, the Post said. It added that five of the teens had lost fingers using a metal cutting machine used to make cans.
The newspaper did not state what products the factory was producing, nor when the raid took place.
Police arrested factory owners Watchaneewan Rojwaraporn, 59, and her daughter, Siriwan, 30, for operating a factory without a license, hiring child labor, employing alien workers without permission and sheltering alien workers, the Post said.
The teenagers were sent to emergency homes on Friday, the newspaper said. Cambodian officials said Monday they were unaware of the case.
“We will go to intervene and take the 18 Cambodian teenagers back to Cambodia and investigate, but I have contacted many related ministries to find out about this matter, but no one is aware,” said Thong Kimheng, assistant to Un Sokunthea, director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking department.
Chuon Vath, Banteay Meanchey provincial bureau chief of the department for anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection against exploitation, said she, too, did not know about the case.
“There are many times that the Thai authority has sent our Cambodians back to Cambodia. But the matter related to the 18 Cambodian teens who were exploited by Thai businessmen, the Thai police have not informed us yet,” she said.
Thai police Major General Surasak Sutharom told the Post the teenagers were recruited by a Cambodian woman named Kia, who helped them sneak into Thailand illegally. They were promised $25 to $50, per month, but were never paid, the newspaper cited the police official as saying.