Updated: Slavery disputed

22 12 2015

The junta’s new effort to reshape “negative” views presented in the media, especially the international media, has decided to take on the swathe of recent reports of slave-like conditions of work, mainly for migrant workers.

There are a couple of things to consider in this effort. Taken together, the junta is either worried about the economic impacts of the stories and/or is planning to stay in power for a considerable time (otherwise, they wouldn’t panic). Another thing is that changing this narrative on slave-like work requires more than a couple of dull generals and obedient civil servants sitting around telling the media that these reports are based on extensive research. The generals and their trailing political spouses have never done this; they just react.

So what does this dull lot say? The first thing they do is take on an AP report and dismiss it.

The government claims AP states “that Thai authorities turned a blind eye to slave-like labour conditions in the shrimp industry.” In fact, the AP is more nuanced than this, although the generals have little capacity for understanding anything nuanced.

With is team of “spokespersons,” the junta’s mouthpiece “Kaewkamnerd denied the AP report on Dec 13, which alleged that authorities ignored forced labour at shrimp-peeling sheds in Samut Sakhon…”. PPT is unsure how these men can lie in this way. It is not the junta alone that is at fault; slave-like conditions have operated in this industry for most of this century. In other words, slave-like work has been normalized in this industry.

Saying the “report was wrong…” is wrong.

These slave-like conditions have operated in every industry where migrants are working. Living and working conditions may vary, but there is massive exploitation.

Update: Yet another report – “not an isolated case” – from Aljazeera.