Further efforts to bring human traffickers to justice needed, rights groups say after trial in which 62 people were convicted.
It unspooled a crisis across Southeast Asia as gangmasters abandoned their human cargo in the camps where hundreds died from starvation and malaria, and at sea in overcrowded boats.
The ruling is an extremely rare conviction for a senior army officer in junta-ruled Thailand. Lt Gen Manas, the highest-ranking official on trial, was a top figure in the security apparatus covering Thailand’s south.
Police arrested three men who tried to traffic women by offering work in Saudi Arabia.
When the US raised the Philippines to its highest ranking in a report on human trafficking, putting it alongside the likes of Britain, Switzerland and Australia, aid workers asked questions.
Thailand has defended its efforts to stop human trafficking, following United States criticism.