Another 14 are sentenced from 2 to 20 years.
Forced to work overtime for no extra pay, some are also tied and beaten and accused of stealing supplies.
Five incidents of human trafficking to China have already occurred this year.
Lao company is pushed out as province sends the projects to a company previously granted a 99-year concession to develop an SEZ in the area.
Some have been compensated in amounts too low for their needs, while others have not been paid at all, local sources say.
The move will further hurt downstream communities already hit by a severe drought called the worst in 60 years by the Mekong River Commission.
The trade continues elsewhere in the country, though, with sales reported in Chinese shops in the capital, Vientiane.
Lao government says Thai support points to potentially breaking ground early.
Lack of sediment in river water kills off fish, makes farming impossible.
Villagers complain about horrible smells that make 10 families sick.
Xaysana Keopimpha was arrested in 2017 for possessing 1.2 million meth pills.
Rights organizations propose independent body to look into enforced disappearance cases.
Family members of two other recently missing Lao activists are still searching for answers.
Phetphouthon Philachane is known to have taken part in pro-democracy demonstrations at Laos’ embassy in Thailand.
District-level authorities say the factory owners are ignoring orders to suspend operations.
The nearest water is now six miles away, and can be brought back only by motorcycle, villagers say.
Thitphay Thammavong is fighting to keep land that has been in his family since 1965.
Mouay also fined 20 million kip for complaining about September flood rescue efforts.