Press Release : Conference on United Partnerships against Human Trafficking

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand organised  the “Conference on United Partnerships against Human Trafficking” during 26 – 27 April 2018 at the Conrad Hotel, Bangkok. The conference was attended by approximately 300 representatives from the public sector, the business community, international organisations, civil society, and academia, as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

During the opening ceremony, H.E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, delivered his opening remarks, underscoring the Royal Thai Government’s commitment to combat human trafficking as its national agenda, in a whole-of-society approach, to bring about progress in its prevention and suppression.  The remarks were followed by keynote addresses and statements from Mr. Wanchai Roujanavong, Vice-Chair of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC); and Dr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, Professor Emeritus of Law, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, and former Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Both emphasised multi-stakeholder cooperation and partnership at all levels as crucial factors in resolving trafficking issues while promoting respect for human rights, safe migration, and sustainable development.

Participants also watched two video messages—one from the Honourable Chris Smith, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senior Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee; and another from Dr. Jean Baderschneider, CEO and Founding Board Member of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. Both commended Thailand’s efforts and achievements in tackling human trafficking. The Honourable Smith lauded Thailand for improving and strictly enforcing laws against sex offenders who commit crimes involving children, particularly on implementing measures against foreign sex offenders, while Dr. Baderschneider complimented Thailand for its strong multi-stakeholder cooperation in eradicating labour exploitation that focuses on collaboration between private businesses and civil society. Dr. Baderschneider stated that she hopes to build a closer partnership with Thailand in accelerating anti-trafficking efforts in the future.

The first panel discussion on “Women and Children in Sex Trafficking” examined gaps and challenges in existing cooperation and explored future cooperation and partnership towards enhancing efficiency in the eradication of trafficking in women and children. Moreover, panellists exchanged good practices in each of their fields and shared experiences in working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Meanwhile, the second panel on “Labour in the Fisheries Sector,” took stock of Thailand’s progress in resolving labour issues as well as obstacles and limitations in implementing policy and legal measures against labour exploitation. The panel also exchanged experiences and recommendations on good labour practices as well as on the capacity building of labour inspectors and strengthened public-private partnerships in the prevention of labour exploitation in the fishery industries.

The draft outcome document of the conference entitled the “Bangkok Call,” was circulated for participants’ review. The “Bangkok Call” urges all stakeholders in the society, at home and abroad, to strengthen cooperation and partnership in tackling human trafficking, to continue to increase budget and human resources, to protect and promote human rights through institutionalising them as social norms, and to explore and support the possible establishment of the Thailand Center for Mission and Exploited Children (TCMEC). Additionally, the Bangkok Call reiterates the importance of Good Labour Practices (GLPs) in the fisheries sector and encourages the Thai Government and Thai firms to work closely with international organisations and NGOs to mainstream GLPs into their businesses.