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By Patsara Jikkham for the Bangkok Post on 5 June 2015,

Strict law enforcement and cooperation with international organisations will ensure an end to human trafficking in Thailand during this government’s tenure, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Friday.

Gen Prayut said this in his speech to mark the 2015 National Anti-Human Trafficking Day on June 5 in a ceremony at Government House.

Six years ago, the anti-human trafficking law came into effect in Thailand.

During the ceremony, the prime minister donated 50,000 baht to the “Thais against human trafficking” project and presented awards to outstanding journalists for their dedication to the prevention and suppression of human trafficking.

He said human trafficking had affected the rights and liberties of people and seriously infringed on the principle of human rights. It had also eroded confidence in the country, affecting trade, investment and security.

“Therefore, under this government, all state agencies must be serious about implementing the existing laws.

“All elements supporting human trafficking must be eliminated, be they government officials or any agencies. The government is sincere about solving the problem and is ready to cooperate with international organisations on this matter,” Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister said the root causes of human trafficking  were poverty and disparities between people in society. “We have to solve the problem to win acceptance from the superpowers,” he added.

He said the problem of illegal migrants must be solved and the country’s labour force must be developed.

Trafficking victims must be taken care of and provided with occupational training to enable them to return to society.

Groups of people and government officials in “grey businesses” must be eliminated. In doing so, the government needed to improve laws and regulations to ensure effective enforcement. Government officials found to be neglectful of their duty and involved in human trafficking rackets would face legal and disciplinary action.

During the past two to three months many people had been brought into the justice process as a result of the government’s serious action, he added.

Apart from law enforcement, the government needed to develop human resources.

“If the people have a clear intention of ending human trafficking and other wrongdoing, it will be tantamount to solving the problem in a sustainable manner,” Gen Prayut said.