Trafficking activist cites positive changes in Thailand




The head of the Environmental Justice Foundation, an organization working on protection of labor and environment, has cited positive changes in Thailand under the current government, but believed that more needs to be done in order to make reforms sustainable.

Steve Trent, founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), told Reuters news agency that Thai officials recently engaged in “substantive talks” with his organization.  Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who oversees security, and senior officials, participated in the talks.

EJF has published several reports on human trafficking and labor abuse in Thailand’s fishing and seafood processing industries. The London-based organization is both a critic and a partner. It is a member of groups such as the Shrimp Sustainable Supply Chain Task Force, a coalition of Thai seafood companies, major retailers, suppliers, nongovernmental organizations and government actors that is working to clean up the Thai fishing and seafood industries.

Trent told the news agency that the positive changes included the reform of fisheries laws and the advanced vessel monitoring system that has been created to track Thai fishing vessels, a system he described as being “among the best in the world.”

Despite clear progress, EJF will continue to focus on Thailand to ensure the reforms will continue when the next government comes to power at national elections in 2017.

Nonetheless, he said that organizations such as EJF and international agencies, which have put a lot of attention on Thailand in recent times, cannot solve the problem. “It has to be a Thai solution, otherwise it won’t be durable,” he said.

To increase the chances that Thai measures to end trafficking and labor abuse will be sustainable, he said that law enforcement needs to be consistent access the country.

For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit