“The government of Thailand… is making significant efforts to eliminate trafficking,” according to the new report.
“The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2.”
The government was particularly effusive in its praise for last year’s trial which in long-term prison sentences for 12 officials involved in trafficking Rohingya migrants.
Since sinking to the very bottom of the rankings in 2014-15, the government has stressed anti-trafficking measures.
Two years ago, the US State Department’s benchmark TiP report boosted Thailand out of the basement and into an area called the “Tier 2 Watch List”.
Now, the country has been raised to the Tier 2 level, where the government had hoped to be.
According to the report, Tier 2 is the ranking for: The governments of countries that do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
The TVPA is the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. It defines trafficking crimes and sets standards for all countries (including the US) for ranking in the annual report.
The annual report evaluates 187 countries and territories and ranks them into four tiers, with Tier 1 being the best and Tier 3 the worst.
The US graded itself at Tier 1 as usual but had a long list of recommendations to improve US efforts against human trafficking.
Amidst the general praise, the report had advice for Thailand, as well.
It said Thailand has a shortage of law enforcement, labour inspectors and first responders, who should be screening for victims proactively.
The country also needs to better “proactively investigate and prosecute officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish those found guilty with dissuasive sentences.”
While Thailand received overall praise, it was the opposite for Myanmar. The TiP report put Myanmar on its list of worst offenders of human trafficking and accused it of using child soldiers amid global criticism over human rights abuses by the country’s military against the minority Rohingya Muslims.
Laos also was pushed down to the worst ranking.
In addition, Gabon, Papua New Guinea and Bolivia were downgraded to Tier 3 from the Tier 2 Watch List in the report, which publicly embarrasses countries into acting to curb human trafficking.
North Korea, China and Russia remained listed as some of the worst offenders. China was downgraded to Tier 3 last year.
Along with Thailand, Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2. Pakistan spent four years on the Tier 2 Watch List of nations deserving special scrutiny, the limit a country can remain at the second-to-worst ranking before either being upgraded or downgraded.
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