THAILAND CLARIFIED on ALLEGATIONS MADE by the SEAFOOD WORKING GROUPS LINKED to the U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE 2021 TIP REPORT.
On 1 July 2021 at 9.30 hrs. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan chaired the Coordinating and Monitoring of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Performance Committee (CMP Committee). The Committee deliberated on the Seafood Working Group (SWG)’s recommendation to the U.S. State Department to downgrade Thailand’s ranking in the 2021 TIP Report from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watch List, through the release of SWG’s comments regarding Thailand’s anti-human trafficking efforts and SWG’s open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State urging the United States to advocate for the Thai Government to withdraw the Draft Act on the Operations of Non-Profit-Organizations, B.E. …
The CMP Committee has found significant discrepancy and inaccuracy in SWG’s information. To initially clarify on some points of allegation, (1) with regard to SWG’s concern on the hinderance for workers to excercise the right to make demands or a collective bargaining due to the fear of being retaliated by employers through the use of defamation law or SLAPP Law, the Ministry of Justice explained that a mechanism to protect human rights defenders has been developed, including through cooperation with United Nation Developmen Programme (UNDP) on relevant law development as well as through a subcommittee to highlight possible legal amendments and appropriate measures to draft and enact the the anti-SLAPP Law. Furthermore, the Justice Fund was established as a source of funding for expenses relating to the provision of assistance to individuals who are subject to unfairly treatment during litigation process. (2) With regard to SWG’s claim that the Ministry of Justice allows the use of prison inmates as workers in the seafood industry for commercial gain, the Ministry of Justice firmly disputed such claim and explained that it provides occupational opportunities and skills training for former inmates already on parole, who wish to work with private sector on a voluntary basis. (3) With regard to SWG’s allegation that the registration process to temporarily extend period of stay for 2 years as part of COVID-19 pandemic-relief measures is not user-friendly, causing difficulty and imposing financial burden on migrant workers, thus putting them at risk of exploitation, the Ministry of Labour clarifies that the registration can be straightforwardly completed online while the total fees of 6,280 THB covers the expenses for medical check-up and health insurance throughout 2 years.
Reaffirming Thailand’s strong commitment to prevention and suppression of human trafficking with significant progress made, the Deputy Prime Minister instructed all relvant agencies to expedite implementing the action plan on combating human trafficking as well as to promptly provide further clarification to SWG’s inaccurate allegations to enhance better understanding about Thailand’s anti-human trafficking efforts and progress.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs