At an anti-human trafficking workshop earlier this week, the Ministry’s Deputy Permanent Secretary, Seksan Nakwong, warned that human trafficking problems damaged the country’s ability to attract tourists.
The ministry is working with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) to establish a network of volunteers to tackle human trafficking problems, as well as help to build awareness in the tourism industry.
“Human trafficking has put a stain on the country’s reputation and this is produces a negative response to tourism,” Mr Seksan said.
Sujaree Suangtho, adviser to the Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security, said: “Crimes of human trafficking appear in many forms, including prostitution and labour exploitation.
“In tourist attraction sites, it is common to see victims of human trafficking, mainly beggars, who are exploited by gangs,” Ms Sujaree added.
According to the Mirror Foundation, an NGO that fights human trafficking, there were 173 reports of human trafficking filed across the country in the past year.
They included 38 in fishery-related labour exploitation, 118 in the begging trade, 15 in prostitution, and two others not categorised.
The foundation said that human trafficking was at its worst when it involved children, such as those being forced to beg at tourist resorts such as Pattaya (particularly on its popular walking street), Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ayutthaya, Surin, Samut Prakan, Chanthaburi, Lamphun and Ratchaburi.