Campaign and center to prevent child abductions planned
Thailand’s Anti-Human Trafficking Police will partner with the Mirror Foundation to launch a campaign and center to prevent the abduction of children, as anti-money laundering authorities announced last week they will auction off two ship seized from human traffickers, in the latest developments in Thailand’s comprehensive response to the problem of human trafficking.
Police decided to increase efforts to protect children after receiving reports on more than 1,000 children who went missing last year. The majority turned out to be false alarms with the children later located. But about 400 were genuine cases and the children are still missing and feared to have been abducted.
Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) commander Kornchai Klayklueng said that it was likely that the missing children were abducted to be trafficked, sexually abused or exploited, or forced to work as beggars on the streets of major cities. Police believe that a few were trafficked out of the country to couples who were not able to conceive children. Kornchai said that boys and girls were at equal risk of being abducted and trafficked.
“Missing persons are among those which upset people the most. It is time to work together, both police and families, to fix the problem,” Kornchai said.
The Mirror Foundation is a Thai non-governmental organization that focuses on issues related to hill tribe peoples, stateless people, trafficking victims and social development. It is run by Thai and hill tribe staff, and has partnered with the Thai authorities on several projects under the government’s comprehensive anti-human trafficking response. The Foundation has been particularly helpful in raising awareness among communities in several provinces about the dangers and risks of trafficking.
To raise awareness, the police and the Foundation are putting up signboards in key locations such as bus terminals and train stations with simple messages such as “Don’t children play alone” and “Don’t let anyone else pick up your child from school.”
Kornchai said that the Central Investigation Bureau is developing a database of missing person cases, and the center, which will be launched next month, will share information with the Mirror Foundation. Local police must report missing child cases to the center for analysis. The Technology Crime Suppression Division will monitor social media to compile information involving missing children.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) last week auctioned off two ships seized from human traffickers. It was the fourth auction of vessels confiscated from human traffickers, and the proceeds of $620,000 from the previous three auctions were given donated to the government’s fund for victims of trafficking.