Thailand Disappointed with Environmental Justice Foundation’s (EJF) Report
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Press Release on 19 February 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is deeply disappointed with a report released recently by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which alleges Thailand of insufficient actions to combat trafficking in persons, especially in the country’s fishery industry.
EJF’s allegations overlooked Thailand’s ongoing intensified anti-human trafficking efforts and real, positive results in many areas. In 2014, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) took legal actions against 156 labour brokers who violated labour laws. 107 illegal brokers were also arrested. In the fishery industry, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) has integrated its victim-identification process with other relevant agencies into “multidisciplinary teams” to systematically identify potential trafficked victims. As a result, in 2014, 696 fishing vessels have been inspected and 10,426 fishery workers interviewed to monitor their working conditions at sea, as well as compliance with labour laws. In 2015, MOL is cooperating with the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, to establish 26 “Port In – Port Out” Vessel-Inspection Centers in 22 coastal provinces. These centers, once integrated with the database on fishing vessel registration and fishing licensing, will enhance the effectiveness of labour inspection and potential victim identification.
Fighting corruption is one of the government’s policy priorities. Legal proceedings and disciplinary punishment against law enforcement officers involved in human trafficking have been increased, resulting in dishonourable discharges and criminal prosecution. More effective investigation into related crimes such as money laundering has also led to more arrests of trafficking syndicates.
H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, has called for a “zero tolerance” approach to this problem, and has reaffirmed it as a top national priority. In 2015, the government has more than doubled the budget for anti-trafficking activities in order to strengthen all line agencies’ capacity, including increase in personnel. The government has also emphasized the importance of integrated and concerted efforts among key partners. Consultative meetings with the private sectors and civil society organizations have been held regularly with the ultimate aim to enhance Thailand’s efficacy in preventing and suppressing human trafficking.
For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit www.thaianti-humantraffickingaction.org