Andy Hall, a British campaigner with a special focus on the rights of migrant workers, is to be prosecuted. Two years ago, on behalf of Finnwatch, he undertook an investigation into Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world. Finnwatch’s final report paints a picture suggesting modern slavery:
It stated that passports and work permits of the employees were confiscated while employees were asked to do compulsory and excessive overtime. They were fined and unclear deductions are made from their wages. Also, it was stated that debt bondage and violence by guards and superiors exist.
Instead of focusing on addressing these serious allegations, Natural Fruit decided to try and silence Andy with lawsuits. They have pursued civil and criminal charges and now Andy could face a prison sentence and $10 million in legal damages for his investigations.
If this case proceeds and Natural Fruit are successful this would not only be a grave miscarriage of justice for Andy. This process could set a dangerous precedent for other companies in Thailand that might take a similar approach when allegations are raised of modern slavery in their supply chains. This threatens the work of anti-slavery campaigners but also workers in Thailand who might be too afraid to come forward and report abuse.
There is growing global outcry over his prosecution and fight for the rights of anti-slavery campaigners and their efforts to end worker exploitation. Anyone interested in getting more information could do so by surfing: