Thailand will establish interagency anti-trafficking taskforce
Thailand Focus week of July 13, 2015
Thailand’s government will soon establish an interagency taskforce dedicated to eliminating human trafficking staffed with experts across several disciplines from law enforcement to social services so that the full range of official power can be deployed against the problem, the Minister of Justice said last week.
Thailand’s campaign against human trafficking had been hampered in the past by less than optimal information sharing and cooperation between various state agencies. Responsibilities for dealing with various aspects of the problem are sometimes shared between or overlap different ministries and departments. Critics have said that this lack of coordination results in traffickers slipping through the net of enforcement and in victims not receiving all the protections and services they need.
The new taskforce was designed to remedy those weaknesses. It will consist of the Royal Thai Police Office, the Department of Special Investigation, and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. The work of the taskforce will be supported by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO).
Minister of Justice Paiboon Koomchaya said that the NACC and the PACC need to be part of the new team because some state officials are believed to be involved in trafficking. AMLO will help investigate, trace and seize assets of suspected traffickers to cripple them financially.
The new taskforce will also be able to make use of a new database being established to monitor and track all human trafficking cases in the Kingdom. Centralizing such information should also prevent cases and suspects from slipping through the cracks, and avoid duplication of investigations or other enforcement efforts.
The taskforce will also able to send cases directly to a new court that is being set up to deal solely with human trafficking cases. Judges being assigned to this new court have said that all cases should be completed within six months of the first trial date, with extensions of six months given in rare circumstances.
Also last week, Deputy Chief of Royal Thai Police General Aek Angsananont announced that that another 17 suspects have been arrested in connection with trafficking Rohingya. General Aek said that 72 human trafficking suspects are being prosecuted, with another 46 still at large. He added that officers recently seized about $2.2 million in assets belonging to human traffickers.
For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit www.thaianti-humantraffickingaction.org
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