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Dept warns firms against illegal brokers

BANGKOK: The Department of Employment has warned business operators against using services from unregistered brokers to seek illegal migrant workers or risk facing human trafficking charges.

economics, crime, Myanmar,


Bangkok Post

Monday 10 July 2017, 11:00AM


Migrant labourers typically find work through job brokers, who are the new target of the Department of Employment for human trafficking. Photo: Bangkok Post / file
Migrant labourers typically find work through job brokers, who are the new target of the Department of Employment for human trafficking. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

The warning came after Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha last Tuesday (July 6) exercised his special power under Section 44 of the Constitution to allow a 180-day reprieve for people involved in the employment of unregistered migrant workers.

The Section 44 order suspended until Jan 1 next year the enforcement of four sections of an executive decree to regulate the employment of migrant workers. This is to allow employers time to prepare the workers’ registration papers.

The decree has since been passed by the National Legislative Assembly into an act.

Department director-general Waranon Pitiwan said that during the reprieve, employers from several industries that have a shortage of workers, such as rice mills and farming, may require the services of brokers to bring in migrant workers.

He said some brokers may claim they can help employers with migrant workers’ registration and charge steep brokerage fees for their services.

According to Mr Waranon, only brokers registered with the department are formally granted the right to import migrant workers.

Anyone who deceives employers into believing they can get undocumented migrant workers or deliver unregistered labourers to them would face charges, punishable by a jail term of between three and 10 years and/or a fine of B600,000-B1 million per worker, said Mr Waranon.

He said there are currently 81 brokers nationwide, 38 of them in Bangkok, that are authorised to bring in migrant workers.

C and C Marine

Those who act as illegal brokers can be reported to the department's provincial offices as well as 10 employment offices in Bangkok, and the agency will proceed with legal action against them. According to the department, employers who hire workers through illegal brokers involved in human trafficking could also face charges of colluding with the trafficking gang.

Meanwhile, transport operators have expressed concerns about the decree, saying the falling number of workers is hurting their businesses.

Thai Transportation Operators Association president Wasuchet Sophonsathein said the decree has led to a shortage of workers in the tourism industry as migrants fled across the border to return to their home country, and a rise in operating costs. Many migrant workers are employed as luggage handlers, hotel room cleaners and car park attendants.

The government should come up with a contingency plan if unregistered migrant workers continue to return to their countries fearing prosecution here, he said. The law stipulates harsh punishments for both civil and criminal wrongdoings associated with the illegal hiring of undocumented migrant workers, with fines ranging from B400,000-B800,000.

Meanwhile, the Super Poll has confirmed many business operators and employers are troubled by the decree. Half of the respondents felt the decree has affected their businesses. A total of 1,150 business operators and people were surveyed from Thursday to Saturday (July 6-8).

However, the general public said they believed the stringent decree would be a boon for job security for Thai workers.

 

Read original story here.

 

 

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