Connect with us


Human trafficking to carry death penalty




– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Human trafficking to carry death penalty
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Parliament voted overwhelmingly yesterday to introduce harsher punishments for human traffickers, including life imprisonment and the death penalty in cases where their victims had died.

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to amend the country’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in the third reading.

The changes will allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty and fines of up to 400,000 for those convicted of trafficking offences, Pol Gen Chatchawan Suksomjit said.

The overhaul of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act follows an incident in January when one woman was found dead in the back of one of five vehicles being used to traffick 98 Rohingya through Phang Nga, north of Phuket, and intercepted by police in Nakhon Sri Thammarat (story here).

Dozens of children – 42 boys and girls under the age of 14 – were also among the suspected trafficking victims from Myanmar.

Two Thai drivers suspected of trafficking the Rohingya, a mostly stateless Muslim minority from western Myanmar, were interrogated over the incident.

In 2012, four Thais found guilty of human trafficking were sentenced to between three and 10 years’ imprisonment (story here) for their intricate involvement in the 2008 “death truck” that left 54 Burmese dead from suffocation inside a seafood container bound for Phuket.

Of the 121 Burmese found in the sealed container heading from Ranong, 17 men, 36 women and one 8-year-old girl were found dead (story here).

Report on fishermen abuse hurts Thailand

While expressing confidence in the measures to combat human trafficking, the government yesterday admitted that fresh reports on forced workers being found on Thai trawlers in Indonesia could hurt Thailand when the United State’s new Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report is released this year.

The US yesterday expressed concern over forced laborers being found in Indonesia’s Ambon and Benjina islands and nearby islands, calling on the government to take significant efforts to protect them.

Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai conceded that reports on the issue by international and local news agencies had not helped Thailand in terms of the pending TIP report.

Furthermore, if the European Union also considered the use of the forced laborers a violation of the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing regulations, it would lead to repercussions on the fishery industry, he said.

The US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said workers in the fishing industry, many of them migrants, were exploited at multiple points along the supply chain from harvesting to processing.

“And a significant – as it relates to Thailand, a significant portion – proportion of trafficking victims are found in the seafood industry,” she said in a daily briefing.

“So for several years, the international community, including the United States, has expressed concern publicly – also directly, of course – over the forced labor of foreign migrants in the Thai fishing and on-land seafood industries. And we continue to call on the Thai Government to take significantly greater steps to protect foreign migrants in the fishing and shrimp industries and to punish those who are enslaving workers.”

Asked if the recent media reports could significantly impact on the review of Thailand in the TIP report, Ms Psaki said: “We don’t make predictions like that. We do note concerns where we have them, and certainly the issue of fishing practices in Thailand has been noted in previous reports.”

Failed efforts

Previous media reports stated that Thai and Myanmar fishery workers were forced to work in harsh conditions on the water and some were detained on Indonesian islands. The seafood they catch was exported by Thailand, the reports said.

The authorities said they had put a lot of effort into trying to solve the problem and had rescued many of the abused workers and sent them home.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday met a rescue team at his office to instruct them to help the some 700 forced laborers in Indonesia.

He said he had no idea how the migrants ended up on the trawlers as all Thai trawlers were registered and checked in and out ports. The trawlers could also be traced by GPS, he said.

He said he would talk to the Indonesian government to discuss bring the workers back to Thailand as soon as possible.

It was reported that a group of 21 workers would arrive in the Kingdom this evening.

Deputy Foreign Minister Don said he would ask the owners of the trawlers for information in order to map out necessary measure to tackle the issue.

“We are confident that our sincere efforts to tackle the problem will encourage the concerned agencies to work effectively as well as convince the international community to ease their measures against Thailand,” he said.

Dodging ramifications

Thailand hopes to convince Washington that its efforts over the past nine months since the last TIP’s report was released were enough to upgrade the country from the TIP’s tier three – the lowest rating.

The government reported to the US earlier that the implementation of five crucial strategies, the so-called 5Ps – policy and mechanisms, prosecution, prevention, protection, and partnership – had yielded good results.

Minister Don said the government was preparing a new report on the progress of combating human trafficking in Thailand and would submit it to the US this month.

Washington will have two months to review the report before announcing its TIP ratings in June.

Don said the government had to verify information contained in the media reports about the situation in Indonesia and consult with relevant parties in Washington as well as he EU over the IUU regulation.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand15 hours ago

Woman smashes up her 1.5 million baht car over feud with Ford Thailand

Bangkok16 hours ago

1.8 billion baht in donations at the Erawan shrine in 2022

Phuket17 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 4 million tourists in 8 months

Sponsored2 days ago

From regulation to cannabis delivery, here’s what you need to know about cannabis in Thailand

Tourism18 hours ago

Carnival Magic theme park opens in Phuket to fanfare

Video18 hours ago

Ask the Thais | Stereotypes, Racial Profiling, and Discrimination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Thailand watching BQ.1.1 variant as Covid rules ease

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand19 hours ago

Military conscription in Russia could benefit Thailand’s economy

Economy19 hours ago

Economists foresee 38 baht to 1 US dollar this year

Thailand21 hours ago

Nine people hospitalised by chemical leak in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Thailand22 hours ago

Scams in Thailand – Common scams in Thailand to watch out for!

Expats22 hours ago

Beauty queen seeking asylum will not be sent to Myanmar

Weather23 hours ago

Tropical Storm Noru is about to hit Thailand

Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid-19 arrival screenings to be dropped October 1

Crime2 days ago

Thai man ‘does not regret’ death of ‘crazy’ son who stabbed grandma in the genitals

Thailand2 days ago

Schoolgirl raped in a school dormitory in front of friends

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11