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Thai police to crackdown on labour traffickers

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai Police are shifting their focus from illegal migrants to labour traffickers, saying they plan to make major arrests after enough evidence is gathered. Fingers have been pointing at the Burmese migrant community after hundreds of migrant workers in Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus.

Since neighbouring Myanmar reported a rise in Covid-19 cases back in September, border patrol tightened security and arrested a number of migrants for allegedly crossing the border illegally. After the surge in local cases over the weekend, particularly among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon, the Royal Thai Army admitted that they cannot keep people from crossing the around 2,000 kilometre Thai-Myanmar border.

National Police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says police have “some idea” of who is trafficking the migrants across the border and to worker camps throughout Thailand. They are now gathering evidence to make arrests.

With a new wave of local cases in Thailand and the Burmese migrant population in the spotlight, Suwat says the police force will focus on arresting traffickers rather than the workers and will address the problem in a “humanitarian manner.”

“If we pour our resources in dealing with illegal migrants, the numbers will drop but not disappear. There are many limitations to our work, but this has become a priority. We will first focus on traffickers, especially those who use natural channels.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Not before time.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      Why should it bother someone from Isaan?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 8:42 pm

        I’m not “from” Isaan, I live in Isaan.

        It bothers me because I disapprove of scapegoating the occasional minnow while the sharks are allowed to thrive at the minnows’ expense.

        • Avatar

          John Brown

          Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 3:20 am

          Would that there were only ten thousand Isaan Johns who cared this much for our welfare and social conscience, who could band together to form an effective lobbying group. Would that putting civics questions on our immigration application forms could produce such a result. The stereotype of “dirty farang” would evaporate, and the respect that Thais have for foreigners would not be based on wealth and ingenuity, but on wealth of conscience and ingenuity for making society *work*.

          Almost brings a tear to my overworked and sleep-deprived eyes.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 3:13 pm

            It’s your country, not mine, and like anywhere else it’s ultimately up to you what leaders and government you get – just as it is in the UK and the USA where the people are being badly served by a bunch of clowns, and they’re suffering as a result but only have themselves to blame.

        • Avatar


          Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 2:46 pm

          Nothing will happen to them anyway, punishment will consist of a relocation only.

        • Avatar

          John Brown

          Friday, December 25, 2020 at 2:33 am

          Not all Thais are ethno-nationalistic. If you have lived here for 30-odd years and have substantial connections to and concerns for the welfare of the people around you and those around them, then I do consider you a fellow Thai in most of the ways I think matter, whether or not you have also been granted the right to participate in formalized political processes. As for ethno-nationalistic Thais, the gentle support of outsiders for Thailand taking steps towards the right side of history helps a great deal. Just expressing appreciation for your opinions on things like this which do matter!

      • Avatar

        No jokes please

        Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 12:39 am

        What is that to you, Slug, what bothers someone from Isaan?

  2. Avatar

    Graham Jarvis

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    They have ‘some idea’ on this..
    This has been going on for YEARS!

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      Exactly! Gov police know about it decades. It’s the usual ‘crackdown ‘ when there’s publicity. Mai pen Rai

  3. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Yeah, it was okay before, when it put money in the pockets of the hoi-paloi but now that the country is aware of the situation, because of the current Covid-19 clusters, the boys in brown have to look like they are doing something.

    They should have done something long ago…but money is money, and exploited workers aren’t on anyone’s radar as long as the elite are raking in the dough.

    It’s shameful.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Andy Hall broke the news on this a few years ago with his articles on the fruit factories, followed by years of being sued for defamation.

      Coincidentally, the last civil case against him was finally dropped only a couple of months ago after the Supreme Court had dismissed all charges against him.

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    More BS fodder for the public to lap up

  5. Avatar


    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    “police have “some idea” of who is trafficking the migrants” – Understatement of the day.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 11:22 pm

      The “day”???

  6. Avatar


    Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 5:59 am

    will they go after the people who hire these illegals? doubt it too much money involved

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      Under the 2008 Migrant Labour Act, the illegal migrants face a fine of up to 100,000 baht and / or five years imprisonment. For their employers, a fine of up to 100,000 baht, (it’s 400,000 in the UK so comparable).

      A fair amount, if the fine’s for every illegal employee.


      Those who dumped the 14 at the side of the road “could be charged for violating the Governor’s order on travel restrictions of migrant workers. The order, which was imposed under the emergency decree, carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and a 40,000 baht fine.”

  7. Avatar


    Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Maybe they’ll work on finding “Boss” next.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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