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Government lambastes US for TIP downgrade

THAILAND: The government has expressed disappointment and criticised the United States’ decision to downgrade Thailand in its annual worldwide human trafficking report.

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By Bangkok Post

Saturday 3 July 2021, 04:00PM


Workers unload the catch from a fishing trawler at a pier in Samut Sakhon. Forced labour in the fishing sector is a major concern in the US Trafficking in Persons Report. Photo: Bangkok Post file

Workers unload the catch from a fishing trawler at a pier in Samut Sakhon. Forced labour in the fishing sector is a major concern in the US Trafficking in Persons Report. Photo: Bangkok Post file

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report for 2021, issued last Thursday (July 1), demotes Thailand from Tier 2 to the Tier 2 Watchlist for the first time in four years.

The report said less effort had been demonstrated in combatting the problem, with forced migrant labour among Washington’s main concerns.

“The government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity,” the report said.

“Smugglers, brokers, employers, and others exploit Thai and migrant workers in labour trafficking in commercial fishing and related industries, the poultry industry, manufacturing, agriculture, domestic work, and street begging,” the report said.

The downgrade came as a shock to the government, which last year started lobbying to be upgraded to Tier 1. The Foreign Ministry said it was disappointed, saying the report “does not reflect fairly the significant efforts and concrete progress Thailand has made in combatting human trafficking”.

“The TIP report, after all, unilaterally makes an evaluation from the US’s very own view and by no means represents any international standard,” it said in a statement.

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The Thai government attaches great importance to combatting human trafficking, the ministry said.

“All measures taken by Thailand are meant for the betterment of the Thai society, raising its standards in protecting and preventing Thai citizens and foreign nationals in Thailand, including migrant workers, from falling victims to human trafficking,” it added.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand’s achievements in key areas included an increase in prosecution efficacy, the ministry countered. More than 90% of submitted cases were brought to court within one year while more than 67% of offenders were handed harsh sentences that included jail terms of five years or more, the statement said.

Complicit officials were also punished and online human trafficking, a rising form of trafficking during the pandemic, was cracked down upon, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Outlining other efforts, the ministry said Thailand has focused on protection, adding that victim-centred and trauma-informed care approaches continue to be undertaken to protect victims of human trafficking in partnership with civil society organisations.

Migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar were granted an extended period of stay in Thailand until March 31, 2022 as a part of COVID-19 pandemic measures. Some 240,572 migrant workers received protection and welfare, thus minimising the risks of them falling prey to human traffickers, the ministry said.

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JohnC | 06 July 2021 - 09:27:01

@xi-virus. Bravo USA??? The country run and manipulated by big time drug dealers and corrupt big business and dodgy republican politicians.  The biggest users of human trafficking in the entire world. Their own record is pathetic.

Kurt | 04 July 2021 - 11:12:34

The 'significant efforts and progress' Thailand has made are mainly talks and desk tiger paper work, plus shuffling some orders left and right. There it stopped. The usual very Thai doings, well known abroad. Thailand, not thinking international, not meet the international standards. Translated: Not done enough.

Xi_Virus | 03 July 2021 - 20:24:30

Bravo USA. Punish these drug dealers and human traffickers hard.
Also go after the drug dealer minister (convicted and jailed in Australia) who is still running his errands (heroin and cocaine).

 

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