MOL, Department of Fisheries, and USAID Signed MoU to Enhance Anti-Human Trafficking System in Fisheries
Ministry of Labor (MOL) joins hands with Department of Fisheries and USAID to improve the communication systems onboard fishing vessels for quicker assistance, prevent human trafficking, and protect workers in fisheries sector.
May 3, 2023. Mr. Wannarat Srisuksai, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, together with Mr. Bancha Sukkaew, Deputy Director General of the Department of Fisheries, and Ms. Meghan MacBain, Director of USAID Thailand Counter Trafficking in Persons Project (CTIP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance anti-trafficking system in fisheries and reduce labor vulnerability to human trafficking.
Also present were Pol. Gen. Thammasak Wicharaya, Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs, and Dr. Steven Olive, USAID RDMA Mission Director.
Pol. Gen. Thammasak highlighted that the idea of this MOU began during the sub-committee meeting he chaired on 9 June 2022 to discuss increasing efficiency of anti-human trafficking efforts in a sustainable way. Partner organizations, including USAID and Winrock International Thailand, were also there to discuss labor and migrant worker protection in the fisheries sector as well as how to utilize their projects and innovation for this purpose.
Pol. Gen. Thammasak expressed his appreciation to MOL, Department of Fisheries and relevant agencies for drafting the MOU, and to USAID and WinRock International for their cooperation with the Thai Government that has resulted in the signing of this MOU.
The MOU aims to improve workers’ ability to communicate and request for assistance, especially those onboard fishing vessels, through the installation of location tracking system (VMS) using applications on mobile phone that operate on satellite signal instead of regular cellular signal. This pilot project for vessel communication technology is called Connectivity at Sea.
Pol. Gen. Thammasak also praised MOL as one of the lead agencies in the anti-human trafficking efforts, taking on the primary responsibility to raise standards of protection and prevention of Thai and migrant workers from becoming victims of human trafficking.
Department of Fisheries is also another leading agency that just recently established the task force for migrant workers screening in fisheries, in accordance with the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to screen vulnerable migrant workers in 22 coastal provinces.
Pol. Gen. Thammasak asked all sectors to join hands as Team Thailand to drive the anti-trafficking efforts to eliminate human trafficking and forced labor in Thailand and work towards the upgrade to Tier 1 on the U.S.’ Trafficking in Persons Report.