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The global costs of human trafficking

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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The global costs of human trafficking | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Tomorrow is ‘World Day against Trafficking in Persons’ – a day where we give a voice to the many victims of trafficking who live among us, but have been forced into silence due to threats to their life, retaliation against their family, feelings of hopelessness, or being enslaved and physically unable to speak out.

Human trafficking is big business. Globally, billions of dollars in profit are made from a criminal practice wherein millions of people, hoping for better lives, are enslaved. The actual numbers are hard to estimate, but we know they are staggering and estimates continue to grow.

In Southeast Asia, data from those assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) show that the region is a hotbed of trafficking, accounting for a quarter of all cross-border cases identified worldwide. Most victims do not travel far as movements are largely intra-regional and domestic.

Most of us who read columns like this know what human trafficking is – the exploitation of people made to work in unjust circumstances through use of force or other means of coercion. We know that victims of trafficking are often subjected to abuse such as rape, torture and unlawful confinement, among other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.

What we tend to be unaware of is the pervasiveness of the crime. In Thailand, there is a perception that trafficking is primarily limited to women in the sex industry. While it is true that the majority of profits are derived from the lucrative sex trade, profiteering from trafficking and exploitation of people is also present in many more sectors, and does not discriminate between genders. Men, women and children are all at risk.

Human trafficking does not only occur on the fringes of society; it is a part of an everyday reality, and we may unknowingly be complicit in the trade. Numerous media exposés have linked the food we eat with slave labor on farms and fishing boats – a significant area of concern for Thailand. Victims of trafficking are also known to work at hotels, construction sites and bars. Many victims find themselves laboring for years receiving only a small fraction of the compensation they were promised, or without receiving any payment for their work at all.

One of the reasons for this trend is the demand for cheap goods and services, which in turn depend on cheap labor. Countries both rich and poor rely on migrant workers to fill jobs that are known as “3D” – dirty, dangerous and difficult. Men and women, typically from communities with large numbers of people ready to enter the workforce but finding limited opportunities, are often tricked or forced into these hard labor jobs under by a promise of good wages in sectors like agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing.

Protecting these migrant workers remains an uphill task. Inadequate channels for migrants to secure work and the lack of systems by which skills accumulated through work experience are recognized and rewarded puts migrant workers at risk of exploitation through fraudulent recruitment agencies and brokers. Their vulnerability to traffickers is then compounded by their lack of awareness of their rights and recourse should they find themselves in a situation of exploitation.

Tackling the issue requires a holistic approach and efforts from all stakeholders. Thankfully in the case of Thailand, a plethora of organizations, each with their own unique approaches, exist to protect and assist victims.

NGOs are often the first organizations to establish contact with victims and provide essential support. IOM – the UN Migration Agency – places priority on protection and prevention, training front-line officials on victim identification, conducting safe migration outreach in migrant communities, preparing victims of trafficking for trials as witnesses, and providing them with reintegration assistance.

For the Royal Thai Government, combating human trafficking remains high on the national agenda. Significant progress has been made since Thailand was elevated from Tier 3 to the Tier 2 watch list of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report in 2016 (where it remains today).

Notable improvements include amendments to the Anti-Trafficking Act, which now clearly spells out the definition of ‘Forced Labor’ and increases provisions for punishment; as well as the enactment of several key ministerial regulations that restrict unlicensed recruitment agencies and allow migrant trafficking victims to stay in Thailand for up to two years.

Thailand is also proactive in initiating cross-border cooperation. Since the world’s first bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on trafficking was signed with Cambodia in 2003, Thailand has continued to set up similar collaborations with its other neighbors; the most active of which is the area-based Border Cooperation Mechanism on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (BCMATIP). Set in 2011, the IOM-facilitated mechanism focuses on information exchange and returns with Myanmar.

At every level, more can always be done on prevention and more assistance can always be provided to victims. In addition, emphasis should also be placed on engagement at the citizen level, something that has yet to become commonplace in Thailand despite the Royal Thai Government’s strong promotion of its National Anti-Trafficking hotline – 1300.

Recently, the IOM received a tip-off from a member of the public who suspected a woman he was chatting with on a popular dating app had been forced into prostitution. Follow-up eventually found that she had indeed been trafficked, and was rescued by an NGO partner. She has since returned to her country of origin with the IOM’s help and is being provided with reintegration assistance. This example perfectly illustrates the importance of educating the public on recognizing victims of trafficking and the available avenues of assistance.

So, continuing from tomorrow’s ‘World Day Against Trafficking in Persons’ and every day of the year, let us not turn a blind eye to the severe violations of human rights that occur on a daily basis. Instead, we should speak against these atrocities and work to give a voice to those who need it most.

Dana Graber Ladek is the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Thailand.

— Dana Graber Ladek



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Phuket

Pedestrian seriously injured after being hit by car in Kathu – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Pedestrian seriously injured after being hit by car in Kathu – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: อาสา ของ ประชาชน VIDEO: Kathu Police/ Newshawk Phuket

A pedestrian has sustained serious injuries after being hit by a sedan while crossing a road in Kathu, Phuket. Volunteers rescue workers report that they were notified of the incident at 7.19pm last night at the Kathu Intersection (near the Caltex petrol station).

They have arrived at the scene to find an unconscious man on the road. He has sustained a serious injury and was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital.

The sedan and the driver were not waiting at the scene when rescue workers arrived but the driver later presented himself at the Kathu Police Station along with the damaged sedan.

Police are continuing their investigation.

Kathu

🔴 #ภูเก็ต เหตุการณ์ รถยนต์ชนคนเดินเท้า ที่แยกกะทู้ตัดใหม่ ตอนค่ำเมื่อวานนี้ (เนื้อหาวิดีโออาจมีความรุนแรง) #เหยี่ยวข่าวภูเก็ต#VIDEO (WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT) In #Kathu #Phuket last night #NewshawkPhuketCr. #สภกะทู้

Posted by เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket on Monday, 17 June 2019

Pedestrian seriously injured after being hit by car in Kathu - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger Pedestrian seriously injured after being hit by car in Kathu - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

 

 

 

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Phuket

Motorbike driver dies after colliding with taxi in Thalang, Phuket

The Thaiger

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Motorbike driver dies after colliding with taxi in Thalang, Phuket | The Thaiger

A motorbike driver has died after colliding with a taxi carrying Indian tourists in Thalang. Thalang Police report that they were notified of the collision at 9.35pm last night on Thepkrasattri Road in Thalang, Phuket.

Police and emergency responders arrived at the scene to find the damaged motorbike and taxi on the road.

The motorbike driver, 45 year old man Somjit Pimmala, was taken to the Thalang Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The taxi driver 29 year old Prapan Chaipakdee was taken to Thalang Police Station. An alcohol breath test was conducted indicating a reading of zero.

The taxi driver told police that he was carrying Indian tourists from the Phuket International Airport and heading to Patong. He claimed that the motorbike suddenly changed lanes and collided with his taxi, causing him to crash onto the road.

Police are continuing the investigation including checking local CCTV cameras.

Motorbike driver dies after colliding with taxi in Thalang, Phuket | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver dies after colliding with taxi in Thalang, Phuket | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver dies after colliding with taxi in Thalang, Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Motorbike driver crushed by cement truck in Thalang, Phuket

The Thaiger

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Motorbike driver crushed by cement truck in Thalang, Phuket | The Thaiger

A cement truck driver has been charged with reckless driving causing death after a motorbike driver died at the scene after being run over by the cement truck in Thalang yesterday afternoon.

The Thalang Police were notified of the incident at 5.10pm on Srisoonthorn Road in Thalang, central Phuket.

Police and emergency responders arrived to find a cement truck in the middle of the road. A damaged motorbike was found under the truck. The body of 40 year old Danai Srikaewheaw was also found crushed under the truck. His body was taken to the Thalang Hospital.

Witnesses told police that the cement truck collided with the motorbike. The motorbike was knocked over and the driver bounced off and ended up being run over by the truck.

The cement truck driver, 22 year old Thanin Janyawit, was taken to Thalang Police Station to face charges of reckless driving causing death.

Motorbike driver crushed by cement truck in Thalang, Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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