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Decision on victims of trafficking welcomed
The Nation, April 12, 2016 1:00 am
THE UN refugee agency (UNHCR) announced yesterday that it was encouraged by the government’s decision to allow human-trafficking victims to stay and work in the Kingdom temporarily.
On Sunday, Grisada Boonrach, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, said both victims and witnesses of human trafficking would be granted permission to stay in Thailand for up to one year while cases are investigated as part of the larger effort to combat human smuggling and trafficking.
The temporary permits could be extended for another year depending on the progress of human-trafficking trials, and victims would be allowed to apply for work permits while they stay in the country.
“This is a positive step in the right direction,” said Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, UNHCR representative in Bangkok.
“It acknowledges the specific needs of people who have suffered at the hands of smugglers and traffickers, including people who fled conflict and persecution back home.
“This move provides an important alternative to detention, protects them from being returned to a place where their lives and freedoms could be in danger, and grants them the right to work so that they can be self-reliant as they await longer-term solutions.”
Every person who has been identified as a victim of human trafficking would benefit from the decision, according to the government, including nearly 400 Rohingya being held in immigration detention centres and shelters run by the Ministry of Social Development |and Human Security around the country.