Thailand upgraded to Tier 2 in Trafficking in Persons Report 2018

Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2 in the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2018 thanks to the government’s increasing efforts to address trafficking problem although it did not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of the problem.

State Department Secretary Michael Pompeo said this year TIP report highlights the critical work of local communities to stop traffickers and provide support to victims.

The report which was released on Thursday by the State Department in Washington DC said the Thai government had demonstrated increasing efforts by prosecuting and convicting more traffickers and decreasing prosecution times for trafficking cases through the use of specialized anti-trafficking law enforcement agencies.

The government also investigated more cases of suspected official complicity in trafficking crimes; issued regulations to increase oversight of NGO-operated shelters and provide access to government financial support; increased training for labour inspectors on forced labour and established an anti-trafficking task force which includes social workers and NGOs, said the report, adding, however, that the government did not meet the minimum standards on several key areas such as officials investigated less forced labour cases and identified fewer victims of forced labour.

The report said corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes continued to impede anti-trafficking efforts and the government sometimes suspended olr transferred these officials to other posts instead of subjecting them to criminal prosecution, although it increased efforts to address the problem of official complicity.

Since the enactment of Beggar Control Act in 2016, the government increased efforts to investigate forced and child begging, with police utilizing DNA testing to determine the relationship between child victims and the adults accompanying them and prosecution of parents from neighbouring countries who brought their children to Thailand to beg, according to the report.

The report also noted that, as reporte in the past five years, Thailand still remains a source, destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

Thailand’s commercial sex industry remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking.  Women, men, boys and girls from Thailand and other countries are subjected to labour and sex trafficking in Thailand.  It is also a transit country for victims from China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and others subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour in such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia and others in Western Europe.