Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs pledged that the Kingdom will sustain its stepped-up anti-human trafficking campaign whether or not the United States raises Thailand’s ranking in its annual report on trafficking in persons.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said that Thailand had already submitted its own brief to the United States Department of State detailing the measures the government has taken to solve the problem of trafficking in persons. The report contains a section that explains what actions Thailand has implemented in direct response to criticisms and findings made by the U.S. in its own trafficking in persons report last year.
In that report, the U.S. downgraded Thailand to Tier 3, the lowest ranking, because the State Department concluded that the Thai government was not making a serious effort to combat human trafficking. The report was compiled during the term of the previous Thai government, but released publicly after the current Thai government came to power.
Prayut Chan-o-cha, prime minister in the current government, has pledged zero tolerance for trafficking and vowed to eradicate it from Thailand. He has demanded greater cooperation and coordination from all government agencies and called on the private sector to do it part. Anyone failing to fight trafficking, or turning a blind eye to the problem, will face disciplinary and legal action, according to the Prime Minister.
Foreign Minister Tanasak said that, no matter what the State Department decides, Thailand is committed to following through with its campaign for humanitarian and national security reasons. He also noted that the Thai government has appealed to the U.S. for more assistance in tackling this difficult, broad-based and complex problem.
Among the many steps Thailand has taken in recent months to fight trafficking have been amending laws to facilitate greater inspections of venues where trafficking is suspected to be taking place, and increasing allowable prison sentences for traffickers, including capital punishment for traffickers if victims have died.
Other advances include working with U.N. agencies to better identify trafficking victims; registering more than one million undocumented foreign migrant workers and giving them permission to work in the Kingdom; increasing inspections of fishing vessels and requiring them to install tracking technology, and extending greater protections, shelter and rehabilitation for trafficking victims.
For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit www.thaianti-humantraffickingaction.org