18 Cambodians Freed From Bangkok Factory

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.


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