‘Drastic action’ needed to halt trafficking

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Human trafficking in Thailand will trigger trade sanctions from the international community if drastic suppression and prevention measures are not taken, a regional meeting was told yesterday.

The US State Department placed Thailand on its Tier 2 Watch List in its 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report last month, which showed that human trafficking was a matter of grave concern, said Pol Lt Col Paisit Sangkhahapong, an expert at the Department of Special Investigation’s anti-human trafficking centre.

The kingdom is a source, destination and transit country for human trafficking, while other countries in the Mekong region are only transit points, he told a meeting on measures to suppress and prevent trafficking in the region.

The meeting in Bangkok was attended by representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and Thailand.

Pol Lt Col Paisit said Thailand would be at risk of facing trade sanctions unless drastic prevention and suppression measures were taken.

“Forced prostitution, human trafficking and labour exploitation in factories and fishing trawlers are serious problems in Thailand,” he said.

“Many migrant workers from Cambodia and Myanmar are forced to work on fishing trawlers. Migrant workers are exploited in Thailand, while Thais are lured by human trafficking gangs into the flesh trade in Japan, Australia and Middle East countries.”

Pundit Sriwilai, director of Laos’ anti-human trafficking department, said trafficking was a transnational crime that all countries must combat jointly.

Laos has strictly enforced the criminal code and a law to protect women and children from human trafficking gangs.

Girls aged 15-18 are the main victims, he said.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith, who presided over the meeting, said human trafficking was a major problem that needed to be urgently tackled before the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

Trafficking in women and children into the sex trade was the most serious problem in the Mekong region, followed by forced labour on fishing trawlers and the smuggling of children to become street beggars, he said.

About the author

Writer: King-oua Laohong
Position: Reporter

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