Thai Prime Minister vows to continue its efforts to end human trafficking.

The serious, sustained and comprehensive efforts by Thailand’s government to battle human trafficking earned the Kingdom another rise in rankings yesterday from the United States Department of State which moved Thailand up to Tier 2 in its annual Trafficking in Persons report and global rankings.

In its report, the State Department cited a number of factors for promoting Thailand to Tier 2, the first time Thailand has been placed in that grouping of nations since 2010. In particular, the State Department praised the stronger enforcement and prosecutions of traffickers as persuasive reasons for its decision to raise Thailand’s ranking.

“The [Thai] government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by prosecuting and convicting more traffickers, and decreasing prosecution time for trafficking cases through the use of specialized anti-trafficking law enforcement divisions,’’ the report said.

Tier 2 is the second highest level in the rankings. The State Department defines Tier 2 as a ranking for“governments of countries that do not fully meet the TVPA’s [U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000] minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”

The report was released during a ceremony and press conference at the State Department headquarters in Washington D.C. attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an official advisor to the president.

The State Department also noted the Thai government’s approach of building partnerships to better identify, rescue, protect and rehabilitate victims of trafficking as part of the positive efforts Thailand has been making.

The Thai government“established an anti-trafficking task force composed of law enforcement, social workers, and NGOs to increase coordination of law enforcement and victim protection efforts; created a victim specialist program; and increased training for labor inspectors on forced labor,” the report said.

The State Department urged Thailand to more forcefully pursue and prosecute government officials who may be involved or complicit in trafficking.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has made clear that his government’s policy is “zero tolerance” for trafficking and that no one involved in trafficking will be shielded or protected or be immune from prosecution no matter their status or connections. Among those who have been convicted and imprisoned have been a three-star army general, several policemen and local politicians.

Since 2014, the government has implemented a wide-ranging efforts to fight trafficking, and yesterday’s rise in the rankings was its second since 2014, evidence of Thailand’s sustained and steady improvement on this important issue.