Big Joke to visit America to discuss Thailand’s human trafficking ranking

Big Joke to discuss Thailand's human trafficking with US officials, photo by Nation Thailand.

Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn, aka ‘Big Joke,’ is set to visit America to discuss Thailand’s human trafficking ranking. Big Joke is answering questions from American officials about Thailand’s efforts to tackle human trafficking, before the US releases its annual Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report in July, Nation Thailand reported.

Countries are ranked on their efforts to fight trafficking as Tier One, Tier Two, or Tier Three. Tier One countries are doing the best at fighting trafficking, while Tier Three countries are doing the worst. Thailand is a Tier Two country.

Ahead of his visit, Big Joke stressed that Thailand will not slip in this year’s TIP report. He said the country could potentially be upgraded to a Tier One country next year. However, Big Joke said he did not expect Thailand’s ranking to change this year. He said…

“I expect no change in the ranking. It’s unlikely that Thailand will be demoted this year.”

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Big Joke said Thailand could potentially upgrade to Tier One next year if it continues to enforce its laws against human trafficking. He added that state officials now have more understanding and knowledge of how to enforce the law and protect and rehabilitate victims.

Thailand has made notable progress in enforcing the law against child abusers and those found to be in possession of child pornography, Big Joke said. The number of cases against sexual abusers of children and those found in possession of child pornography last year exceeded the total for the previous seven years.

The US State Department releases its annual TIP report in July, which assesses and ranks countries globally according to their perceived efforts to combat human trafficking. The report uses the three tiers and a watchlist to rank countries, with Tier One countries being assessed to be in compliance with the minimum standards of the US Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Tier Two countries have not fully complied but are making progress, while Tier Three countries do not comply with the minimum standards and are making no effort to improve.

Thailand has been ranked as a Tier Two country on four of the five most recent TIP reports. Although the country for some time was downgraded to the Tier Two watchlist, it was deemed a Tier Two country again last year.

Thailand has heard slightly more than 500 human trafficking cases in its courts last year, with 307 of the 503 concluded, resulting in convictions in 264 cases and acquittals in 24, according to the Office of Planning and Budget of the Court of Justice. Courts rejected 19 cases. Those convicted were ordered to pay compensation totalling 67.95 million baht to victims, while a total of 14.443 million baht in fines was collected from those convicted.

Deputy Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Poj Aramwattananont expects that Thailand will receive a better assessment in this year’s TIP report due to the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking. Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has been credited for the country’s improved performance in enforcing laws against human trafficking last year.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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