The Nation is reporting that human trafficking remains a serious issue in Thailand despite years of efforts to tackle the problem by the military government. A report released yesterday by rights groups.
The report by Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and Anti-Labour Trafficking Project (ALT), focusing on the situation in 2016 and 2017, says that cases of labour trafficking were lower because they might not have been reported yet.
According to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Thailand prosecuted 333 human trafficking cases in 2016 and 302 cases in 2017. Of those, 244 and 246 respectively related to prostitution, involving persons being lured or forced into the sex trade. The rest involved other types of labour, including those in the industry and fishery sectors.
The report said that work in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and industry are mostly remote and obscure and it is therefore difficult for authorities to track down labour trafficking, according to The Nation.
The report also suggested that the low number of cases was probably more due to poor record-keeping and lack of cooperation among involved agencies and authorities, and not reflective of the actual situation.
Prawit Roikaew, a prosecutor specialising in human trafficking cases, said the country had passed legislation and legal amendments as the TIP report was in the spotlight. But problems lay in how authorities implemented the laws, he said.
“We see this effect where authorities are torn between pressing many charges or none at all,” The Nation quoted him as saying.
“Some people think that because we have all these laws, we should have more cases. Others resort to hiding the truth for fear of being transferred. None of these truly comply with the law.”
Somchai Homlaor, a lawyer and HRDF president, pointed out a similar issue of authorities rushing to prosecute cases and taking them to court. Despite the superficial enthusiasm, in reality a rushed job meant the investigation was not thorough, he said. Ultimately, the traffickers ended up being acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
PHOTO: The Maritime Executive
SOURCE: The Nation
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