Thais Vow to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

By The Irrawaddy 30 November 2021

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered authorities to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labor as the country aims to improve its ranking in the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report next year while stepping up a campaign against illegal movement across the Thai-Myanmar border.

Thailand was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watchlist in the 2021 TIP report, which means the government is not in full compliance with minimum standards but is making significant efforts.

Bangkok aims to upgrade the country’s ranking from Tier 2 Watchlist to Tier 2 in 2022.

A Tier 2 ranking indicates that the country is making important strides in tackling human trafficking and is well on the way to full compliance with international trafficking laws and standards.

“The number of criminal actions against these illegal activities is in decline while traffickers are taking advantage of online technologies to recruit victims. Identifying victims is substandard and alleged involvement of state officials in trafficking and the use of forced labor remains,” General Prawit was quoted as saying, according to The Bangkok Post.

Meanwhile, In Ranong’s La-un district, a total of 63 workers from Myanmar were detained when authorities stopped and searched a car and found 21 men squeezed inside, the Post reported.
The 29-year-old Thai driver admitted that he was transporting them to an oil palm plantation where another 21 men and women had already been dropped off.
According to officials, the migrant workers were heading to Songkhla’s Hat Yai district and Malaysia.
It is believed that the recent influx of migrant workers from Myanmar was triggered by this week’s deadline for illegally hired workers to report and be allowed to stay and work legally in the country, The Bangkok Post reported.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup in February and many Myanmar citizens and families have been leaving the country via the border with Thailand or India, as well as by official channels.

Thousands of Myanmar citizens who joined the protest against the junta in Myanmar have fled to the Thai-Myanmar border. They have been living in border-based villages and towns and have taken refuge in ethnic insurgent camps. Many have also sought refuge in Thai border towns.

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