Connect with us


Thai Police target source of human trafficking from Myanmar, but exclude Rohingya

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The Royal Thai Police have asked their Myanmar counterparts to launch a public-awareness campaign to make Myanmar nationals aware of the dangers of slavery by accepting to work illegally in Thailand.

Royal Thai Police Assistant Commissioner-General ML Pansak Kasemsant announced the news yesterday at the Thailand-Myanmar Bilateral Meeting on Strengthening Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Co-operation in Combating Trafficking in Persons.

The four-day international conference, which is being held at the Phuket Cape Panwa Resort, began on Monday and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

The public-awareness campaign aims to stop people in Myanmar from voluntarily seeking illegal work in Thailand, explained Lt Gen ML Pansak.

“The problem we [Thai police] always encounter is that human-trafficking victims decline to give information to us,” he said.

“They have good reasons for this, but without us knowing, there is little we can do to improve their situation. We cannot even identify the traffickers.”

The campaign, if launched, would also explain all the benefits Myanmar nationals receive if they work legally in the Kingdom, Lt Gen ML Pansak said.

“If we can get cooperation from Myanmar to explain this to their nationals, I think the problem could be resolved,” he added.


However, the plight of thousands of Rohingya who have fled persecution in Myanmar, and landed on Phuket and elsewhere along the Andaman coast, remains unresolved.

Brig Gen Win Naing Tun, the Head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Joint Secretary of Central Body for Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (CBTIP), Myanmar Police Force, dismissed that Rohingya were of any concern to Myanmar officials.

“Rohingya are not Myanmar nationals. They are people who live in a neighboring country,” he said through a Thai translator.

Brig Gen Win Naing Tun warned the Phuket Gazette to not ask further about the issue.

“It might affect relations between the two countries,” he said.

He declined to comment further.

Gen ML Pansak, however, was more positive in his approach to the subject.

“We are still trying to talk about this,” he told the Gazette. “This conference is focused on human trafficking, and the Rohingya issue has not been discussed at this forum before.”

“By internal convention, we are supposed to return refugees to their home countries, but with Rohingya we cannot do that, so we have to relocate them to displacement shelters.

“The UNHCR and the IMO* are helping in providing care for them while the Thai government provides food and shelter, and it will remain that way until another country accepts them or another solution is found.”


Gen ML Pansak pointed out that the conference between the Thai and Myanmar police had made some progress to stem the tide of human trafficking from Myanmar.

“The good news is that the deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police Foreign Affairs Division, Col Khemarin Hasasiri, will be stationed as Coordinator of Human Trafficking and Migrant Labour in Myanmar from September,” he said.

“This should help us in our efforts to target human traffickers – and those being trafficked – at their point of origin.”

Gen ML Pansak added that while the international police conference was being held in Phuket, another conference between the Thai and Myanmar labor ministries was taking place in Bangkok.

“Senior officials from the Ministry of Labor are also tackling the issue of human trafficking at that conference,” he said.


Despite Thailand’s recent efforts to counter human trafficking – namely thanks to campaigns carried out by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) since the junta seized power on May 22 – the country will remain ranked by the United States as among the worst for human trafficking until at least next year.

Thailand was downgraded to Tier 3, on par with Malaysia and Gambia, in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report earlier this year for failing to take steps to prevent human trafficking (story here).

The move could trigger sanctions by the US.

“I went to the US two weeks ago to explain how Thailand is trying to take action against human trafficking, including the setting up of one-stop migrant worker registration centers,” Gen ML Pansak told the Gazette.

“We received good feedback from them, but we were told the Tier 3 status could not be upgraded immediately. We have to wait until next year, when they consider Thailand’s status again.

“The best we can do for now is to keep trying to prevent human trafficking from happening in Thailand.”

Central to Thailand being downgraded to Tier 3 was that Thai officials did not include any mention of Rohingya in its report to the State Department, as apparently Thai officials did not consider the refugees to be victims of human trafficking (story here).

Contributing to the downgrade were media reports that Thai officials were implicated in allowing Rohingya refugees to be sold into the hands of traffickers to be smuggled across the southern border to Malaysia (story here).

That issue was not mentioned at the conference yesterday.

* The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have launched a joint campaign to set guidelines in providing assistance to persons rescued at sea (click here).

— Saran Mitrarat


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Vietnam11 hours ago

Ho Chi Minh launches 3-stage reopening plan, international on January 1

Kanchanaburi12 hours ago

Border shacks to be demolished for aiding Burmese immigrants

Tourism13 hours ago

Tourism calls for Russia and India to be added to safe list

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Economy14 hours ago

Bank of Thailand plans real-world test of digital currency in 2022

Hua Hin14 hours ago

Hua Hin calls for delay in reopening amid Covid-19 infections

Chiang Mai15 hours ago

Chiang Mai Covid-19 infections swell ahead of reopening

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Koh Samui16 hours ago

Thailand’s bars and beach parties remain strictly closed (cough)

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Covid-19 Sunday: Deaths fall to low of 56, provincial data

Tourism17 hours ago

Ministry of Foreign Affairs sings praises of Thailand Pass

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Covid-19 in prison: outbreaks from overcrowding now subsiding

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Covid-19 deaths receding, but still here; 1 month old baby dies

Crime1 day ago

Van packed with 39 illegal burmese workers stopped in Phichit

Vietnam2 days ago

Vietnam to test reopening starting with Phu Quoc Island

World2 days ago

Chinese law to limit homework and tutoring pressure on kids

Bangkok2 days ago

Thai man takes grandfather hostage in Bangkok standoff

Thailand1 month ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Phuket8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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