Embassy Update No. 6/2018 – Tougher Stance on Illegal Fishing and Labour Exploitation
MFA Press Release: Thailand is Confident of the IUU-Free Tuna Industry

MFA Press Release: Arrests of Two Suspects Involving in Human Trafficking on Fishing Vessels

On 31 May 2018, Pol. Col. Mana Kleebsattabudh, Deputy Commander of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Royal Thai Police, held a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand to update on the legal proceedings of human trafficking cases in the fisheries sector. The briefing was held in light of the recent arrests of two suspects involved in two cases related to human trafficking on fishing vessels.

The two suspects were accused of luring and forcing the victims to work on board fishing vessels. The first victim was later given assistance by the Royal Thai Embassy in Jakarta for the repatriation out of Ambon Island, Indonesia. The second victim was rescued and returned home by the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The subsequent investigation led to the arrests of the said suspects on 27 March and 17 May 2018 respectively.

The Royal Thai Government has declared the prevention and suppression of human trafficking a national agenda, and has committed to eradicate the entire human trafficking chain in accordance with the “Zero Tolerance” policy. This goes hand in hand with the improvement of labour measures to be in line with international standards, thus resulting in the reduction in the risk of workers falling victim to human trafficking, particularly on fishing vessels. Moreover, the Thai authorities, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Thai Police, the Royal Thai Navy, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Ministry of Labour, and the Department of Fisheries have joined forces to provide systematic and swift assistance to the victims of human trafficking. From the beginning of 2018, 60 Thai nationals have been rescued by the Thai authorities. 11 out of the 60 people were found to be victims of human trafficking.

Since October 2014, Thai authorities have rendered assistance to Thai fishing crews who were stranded on Ambon Island, Indonesia. 160 expatriation trips have been made for 1,694 crews to return to Thailand. Among these crews, 40 were found to be victims of human trafficking. This led to the prosecution of 19 cases, 10 of which have been concluded.