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Human trafficking laws to be redrafted

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Human trafficking laws to be redrafted | Thaiger

BANGKOK (TNA): Following the deaths of 54 illegal Burmese job seekers who suffocated while being transported to Phuket in the sealed container of a truck on April 9, Thailand is set to issue redrafted laws prohibiting human trafficking on June 6.

Senior officials announced the decision yesterday after a meeting between six government agencies and NGOs.

Currently, Thailand has a modest law barring the trafficking of children and women only. The strict new law will replace the current one, they said.

Participants at the meeting told a press conference that the 66 survivors from the April 9 tragedy were charged with illegal entry, given suspended jail terms, and held liable for a fine of 2,000 baht each.

Workers without money to pay their fine were instead jailed for 10 days, said Immigration Police Commander Lt Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit.

The survivors would also be asked to testify as witnesses against those who had been apprehended and initially charged in the case of negligence causing death to others, said Gen Chatchawal.

Six Thai nationals – five men and a woman – have been arrested over the incident. It is believed that several others, still at large, were the masterminds behind the smuggling ring.

The April 9 incident has drawn global attention to the plight of migrant workers who are willing to risk their lives to escape the hardships in their country in search of what they believe to be a better life.

Phuket’s booming construction industry has made the island a key destination for Burmese laborers and the traffickers bring them to work here.

Nattaya Anudit of the Phuket Provincial Labor Office was recently quoted as saying there are 35,116 alien workers who have been registered in the province. She estimated the current number of illegal workers to be at about 50,000.


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