English subtitle of an excerpt on Thailand’s anti-human trafficking efforts in PM weekly televised address on 31 July 2015
Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). I can assure you that the Thai government will not be discouraged or disappointed. We must remain hopeful, this is a matter with international implications, and we will continue our efforts to seriously combat human trafficking. We will assist all victims. We shall bring all perpetrators as well as those benefiting from human trafficking to justice.
This government has declared the tackling of human trafficking to be a national agenda. We must care for people from every nation, not just the Thai people. We are more than willing to work with every country and every organization to repel and remove such a crime from our nation as well as from the ASEAN region.
There are a lot of problems we have to address together as well. We cannot be disappointed when we are reproached in this way, but we must maintain our commitment to the stability and safety of Thailand and to our reputation. Creating understanding is a complex issue, especially when explaining matters. But if the Thai people listen and consider that before anyone can accept us, we will have to prove ourselves, then others will eventually understand us.
Thailand has been listed in Tier 3 since last year, so we must now do many more things better than before. But this ranking is a matter concerning the US Department of State. We know how much we have done and how much progress has been made. This doesn’t mean that we have not tried to address this problem, but our efforts did not meet their minimum standards during the time of their evaluation. They came when we had just started seriously attempting to remove human trafficking activities. It has been several months since they visited and much progress has been seen.
Things will get better from now on. More than 100 officials who were found involved in human trafficking have been punished, compared to other nations who have had much fewer arrests. These offenders are now facing indictment. We need to take serious action against this matter urgently. Now that our efforts our clear, we shall have results which should be reflected in an upgrading to Tier 2 in the near future.
As for the other problems we are dealing with, be they human trafficking, aviation safety, or IUU, it is up to them on which list they want to put us. Our job is to do all we can for our people, with and for the resources that we have, and for human rights, especially in ASEAN Community where things are interconnected. We heed all suggestions and we welcome all compliments. A problem always has overlapping sub-problems.
However, the government needs cooperation from everyone, so please refrain from politicizing this matter. The government will handle its area of responsibility. All related agencies must lend a hand, especially entrepreneurs as well as the workers. You all need to be honest to each other. Human trafficking is a critical problem and closer to us than you think. It affects all sectors in Thailand including trade and investment. We have to get rid of human trafficking.
Let me reiterate that this government will be committed to dealing with human trafficking, IUU, and the ICAO – issues that have lingered for many years under several administrations. We will handle them based on international human rights and the maintenance of our national security. We will do our best to support and help Thai people as well as others in this region. The government will work with all sectors – private sector and civil sector – and will seek cooperation from other countries and international organizations to address human trafficking in this region as well as other parts around the world. Related agencies need to inform, create understanding, and show proof of progress to the international community.