Mothers call on Thai PM to get their boys back

Suspected human trafficking victims crammed on a Thai trawler.

The mothers of two teenage boys reportedly lured to work on an Indonesian fishing trawler called on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha yesterday to bring their sons back.

Accompanied by the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation's director Sompong Sakaew, Saowapa Maokhantee and Jimmy Namsak handed in a petition addressed to Prayut via the Office of the Prime Minister's complaint centre yesterday.

Saowapa's son, Thaksin Wannasin, is just 15 and Jimmy's son Thiradon Pengkho is barely 13 years old.

"Both boys are from Bung Kan province," Sompong said.

The labour activist said neighbours allegedly lured the boys into working on the trawlers using fake documents that identified them as 20-year-old Cambodian nationals.

The Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation has only just found out that the boys have been detained by Indonesian immigration officials on Ambon Island.

"We have lost contact since they left in Sept," Saowapa said tearfully.

"My son has thalassemia and needs blood transfusion every four months."

Sompong urged the government to bring the boys back home as soon as possible and improve measures to block marine-based human trafficking and the use of child labour on fishing trawlers.

He said a survey had found some 35 Thai children were victims of exploitation in Indonesia.

Wanchai Boon-in, who used to work on an Indonesian fishing trawler, said some Thais could not return to Thailand because their travel documents were held by employers.

The complaint centre's chief Suksawas Suwanawong said he would contact the Foreign Ministry, Labour Ministry and Social Development and Human Security Ministry to ensure the two boys are helped.