Increased migrant worker vulnerability likely to follow (Washington, DC) – The U.S. State Department upgraded Thailand to Tier 2, the middle of three possible rankings, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report yesterday. It was one of several country rankings that have raised alarm among international anti-trafficking advocates, including U.S.
Thailand has made notable improvements in eradicating human trafficking and forced labour from the fishing industry, according to UN experts.
In an attempt to get the EU yellow card on Thai fishery products lifted, civil society organisations, the private sector and the Labour Ministry have launched a union group of migrants in the fishing industry to increase workers’ bargaining power. On 18 March 2018, the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation hosted a ceremony to launch the Thai and Migrant Fisher Union Group (TMFUG).
The junta’s attempt to prevent human trafficking has pushed migrant workers into a more precarious situation. Migrant workers and their employers said the new Management of Foreign Workers’ Employment Act, which came into force in June 2017, may not have achieved the intended purpose of protecting migrant workers from human trafficking because the implementation of the law has opened a loophole for exploitation by the middlemen. Sai Htun Shwe, a Burmese migrant, told
A local businessman faces 15 years in prison for trafficking nearly a hundred Rohingya migrants in 2015, two of whom suffocated to death during their journey. On 12 September 2017, the Appeal Court confirmed the Court of First Instance’s decision to jail Sunan Saengthong, a local businessman in Phang Nga, for 15 years and to fine him 660,000 baht.
Australia has granted asylum to a former senior Thai police officer investigating human trafficking, who was subject to death threats and intimidation after exposing the crimes of influential government and security officials. The intimidation of Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin began during his role as senior investigator into the trafficking of Rohingya Muslims in a case that involved 153 suspects and 103 defendants (62 of whom have been convicted) —Thailand’s largest human trafficking case. The defendants included senior mili
The US State Department recently issued its 2017 edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). As might be expected, China, with over three million people living in modern slavery, has once again been downgraded to Tier 3 (countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so), a ranking it held for a single year in 2013. However, one must ask why China was upgraded from Tier 3 in 2014, and why the downgrade now, for this is by no means clear from the reports for the two years.
Avoiding colonization by Europe simply meant that we colonized our own people. This internal colonialism, in which officials appointed from the metropolis rule and drain the countryside like conquered provinces, has led to obvious differences among the Thai. (Gen. Saiyut Koetphon, former head of Internal Security Operations Command, 1976.)
A provincial court in southern Thailand has sentenced six people, including the President of the Kantang Fishing Association (Trang Province), to 14 years in prison for human trafficking. On 17 March 2017, the Provincial Court of Trang sentenced Sompol Jirotemontree, President of the Kantang Fishery Association and managing partner of Boonlap Fishery Limited Partnership (BFLP), to 14 years in jail for violating the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Sompol and five other people were indicted for trafficking and abusing 15 migrant workers from Myanmar in 2015.
A provincial court in southern Thailand has dismissed charges of human trafficking filed by Cambodian workers against a Thai fishing boat captain and a fish market owner. On 22 February 2017, the Provincial Court of Ranong read the verdict in a case filed by Ranong public prosecutors against Banjob Kaenkaew, a fishing boat captain, and Somchai Jettanapornsamran, owner of a fish market based in Samut Sakhon.