4 Dec 2018 – BBC News Investigation Uncovers Exploitation of Thai Farm Workers: In an investigative report released on November 23, BBC News Thai reported that Thai nationals working abroad on Israeli farms were being “exploited and abused,” citing “unsafe working practices,” “squalid, unsanitary living conditions,” and “dozens of unexplained deaths.” In 2012, Thailand and Israel established the Thailand-Israel Cooperation on the Placement of Workers (TIC) agreement with the aim of “streamlining the process of the recruitment of Thai agricultural workers, significantly reducing corruption in the recruitment process” and “decreasing the recruitment fees that Thai workers pay to secure work permits”; currently, there are more than 25,000 Thai laborers working in Israel under this program, according to the BBC.

Although TIC states that the laborers should “expect a reasonable level of comfort and safety,” Issariya Praithongyaem, a BBC journalist who traveled to the farms, reported that the Israeli farmers blamed the workers for their living conditions and argued that it was the workers’ “preference not to wear protective gear when performing potentially hazardous work.” According to the report, the number of Thai workers who have died while working in Israel surpasses 170 people. On November 28, the Israeli government criticized the report in a joint statement released by the ministries of health, foreign affairs, agriculture, and welfare, saying that “these claims portray a distorted picture of reality.”

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