Abused Karen girl awarded $180,000 in damages

Abused Karen girl awarded $180,000 in damages

KAMPHAENG PHET, Thailand - Kamphaeng Phet Court has awarded more than Bt4.6 million (S$180,000) in compensation to an ethnic-Karen girl, identified only as Air, for the torture and cruelty inflicted upon her from the age of seven by her employers, the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) said yesterday.

The verdict on the civil lawsuit filed by Air's custodian Mo Wateng on her behalf against Natee Taeng-on and Rattanakorn Piyawora-tham was issued on Monday.

The court ordered the two defendants collectively to award the plaintiff, who worked for them as a housemaid, Bt4,603,233 (S$180,000) in damages including Bt303,233 (S$12,000) for the medical expenses incurred at Bangkok's Ramathibodhi Hospi-tal, Bt800,000 (S$31,000) future medical-treatment expenses, Bt1 million (S$39,000) to compensate for the inability to work for at least 50 years, and Bt700,000 (S$30,000) for the loss of the ability to reproduce.

However, the exact amount the damaged parties will receive depends on the amount of assets owned by the employers.

The case emerged in 2009, when seven-year-old Air disappeared from the living quarters of her parents, who were migrant workers from Myanmar in a sugar-cane plantation in Kamphaeng Phet. On January 31, 2013, Air managed to escape from her captors and was later sheltered by some officers, HRDF said.

According to Air, she had been abducted by her parents' former employers and had, since then, been forced to work as their maid.

The employers inflicted abuse causing serious injuries as well as scalding her with boiling water.

The couple, who are also facing a separate criminal lawsuit, have jumped bail and are still at large.

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