Japanese Ambassador opened the new Rehab Centre for Thai and Migrant Labour
Updated: Sep 4
On 4 August 2022, H.E Mr. NASHIDA Kazuya, Ambassador of Japan to Thailand presided over the Opening Ceremony of the Training and Rehabilitation Centre for Thai and Migrant Labour (L-TReC), in the province of Pathumthani. The centre called “LPN home” was established as a shelter for former fishermen, who were victims of human trafficking in foreign waters, aiming for social reintegration through physical and mental rehabilitation. For the construction budget, LPN received financial assistance from the Japanese Government through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The handover ceremony was attended by Mr. Ekawit Meepian, Deputy Governor of Pathum Thani Province, Mr.Khattiya Pandech, Inspector of the Department of Employment, Prof. Surichai Wankeaw, Chairman of the board of directors of LPN, Ms. Patima Tungpuchayakul, co-founder of LPN, Mr. Sompong Srakeaw, co-founder and the Executive Director of LPN, social work organizations, business sector as well as press members and local dignitaries.
In 2017, The construction was completed successfully, with financial support under the GGP scheme for 5,000,000 baht and building design by students and lecturers of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Thammasat University.
The 2-storey Rehab Centre contains the LPN office, shelters, a labour vocational training centre, and shops. With a spacious area, it is also surrounded by green fields which is suitable for being a place of refuge for Thai and migrant workers
From 2014 onwards, the LPN team has made several trips to Indonesia, especially the remote tiny islands like Ambon, Maluku, Bengina, and Tuol in response to requests for assistance from enslaved fishermen working on Thai fishing boats stranded in Indonesian waters, helping to return to Thailand safely. Although these rescue operations have been successful, LPN's missions are not over yet.
We found the problems and needs of the fishermen. The harsh working conditions aboard fishing vessels have caused both physical and mental health problems, including permanent disabilities from injuries at sea. Moreover, being away from home for many years caused them to lack skills in other occupations. For returned fishing workers, there are still a lot of problems for them to assimilate back into society.
This is a story of returned fishing workers who lived in the Rehab Centre.
“I was stuck on the boat for many years. When I returned, I didn't know where to go.”
“Being here, I have food to eat and a bed to sleep”
- Somchai, age 52, a former fishing crew from Chachoengsao
“I want to claim unpaid wages to start a new life. LPN helps me with legal support.”
- Kai, age 54, a former fishing crew from Nakhon Ratchasima
“I want to say thank you for the mission of LPN. If they didn't come and help me back, I don't know how my life would be”
“My family was shocked when LPN contacted them that I was alive. I stayed at this shelter for a month then I returned home.”
- Num, age 38, a former fishing crew from Samut Prakan
*Names of all the victims have been changed to protect their identities
In response to this situation, it was necessary to build a Rehab Centre and vocational training for formerly enslaved fishermen, providing them a safe space to heal, a chance to begin a new life, and a vocational skill to protect themselves from being a repeat victim in a fishing boat.
Not only offering post-rescue services such as healthcare, shelters, and legal support, the Rehab Centre also serves as a learning space about migrant workers’ current situation, bringing people related to labour issues together. LPN as an organizer, would love to make this place accessible for all.