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Thailand To Tackle Human Trafficking

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  • Thailand To Tackle Human Trafficking

    (8 April) The South African Ambassador has proposed a joint effort to fight human traffickers alongside Thailand, in an effort to end the "sex slave" business between the two nations.

    Ms. Robina P. Marks met with Ms. Paweena Hongsakul, Minister of Social Development and Human Security, in Pathum Thani province today to discuss the plan, which will encourage more cooperation between Thailand and South Africa, and a more robust legal procedure to prosecute those involved in the sex trade.

    Numerous Thai women have been lured by human traffickers to South Africa with the prospect of lucrative careers, only to be locked in brothels and "massage parlours" where they are forced to become prostitutes once they arrive at their destination.

    Ms. Paweena said she has assured Ms. Marks that the Thai authorities will adopt stronger measures to curb the human trafficking trade in Thailand, such as monitoring agencies who advertise jobs in South Africa to Thai women.

    Any job agency that is found to violate or ignore regulations imposed by the Ministry of Labour will be severely punished, Ms. Paweena said.

  • #2
    Special Report: Flaws found in Thailand's human-trafficking crackdown

    SATUN, Thailand (Reuters) - After a two-hour trek through swamp and jungle, Police Major General Thatchai Pitaneelaboot halts in a trash-strewn clearing near Thailand's remote border with Malaysia.
    "This is it," he says, surveying the remains of a deserted camp on a hillside pressed flat by the weight of human bodies.
    Just weeks before, says Thatchai, hundreds of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar were held captive here by one of the shadowy gangs who have turned southern Thailand into a human-trafficking superhighway.
    With Thatchai's help, Thailand is scrambling to show it is combating the problem. It aims to avoid a downgrade in an influential U.S. State Department annual report that ranks countries on their anti-trafficking efforts.
    But a Reuters examination of that effort exposes flaws in how Thailand defines human trafficking, exemplified by its failure to report the lucrative trafficking of thousands of Rohingya confirmed in Reuters investigations published in July and December.
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    • #3
      A Tier 3 designation would put the Southeast Asian country alongside North Korea and the Central African Republic as the world's worst centers of human trafficking, and would expose Thailand to U.S. sanctions.
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      • #4
        The next TIP Report will appraise Thailand's anti-trafficking efforts in 2013.
        That year ended with the State Department and the United Nations calling for investigations into the findings of a December 5 report by Reuters. That article uncovered a secret Thai policy to remove Rohingya refugees from Thailand's immigration detention centers and deliver them to human traffickers waiting at sea.
        Thailand made "significant progress" in combating human trafficking in 2013, said its foreign ministry, citing data included in the recent 78-page report Bangkok submitted to the State Department.
        According to the Thai report, Thailand convicted 225 people for human trafficking in 2013, compared to 49 people in 2012. (According to the State Department, Thailand convicted only 10 people in 2012.)
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        • #5
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          • #6
            "THERE WAS TORTURE"
            The second suspect was a leader of a syndicate in the province of Satun. That gang is believed to operate a string of camps along the province's border with Malaysia - including the abandoned camp Reuters visited with Thatchai on March 27.
            At least 400 Rohingya, including many women and children, were held at that camp for up to a month, said Thatchai. The Rohingya were guarded by armed men and fed two meals of instant noodles a day.
            "Today we have proved that what the victim said is true," Thatchai said after the site visit. "There was a camp. There was torture and kidnapping."
            But Thatchai also said he thinks no amount of raids and arrests in Thailand will staunch the flow of Rohingya out of Myanmar's Rakhine State.
            Deadly clashes between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar in 2012, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless, most of them Rohingya.
            Since then, about 80,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar by boat, according to the Arakan Project.
            More look set to follow, after attacks by ethnic Rakhine mobs in late March forced foreign aid workers to evacuate the state capital of Sittwe. This has jeopardized the delivery of food and water to tens of thousands of Rohingya.
            (Amy Sawitta Lefevre reported from Bangkok. Additional reporting by Jason Szep in Washington. Editing by Jason Szep, Bill Tarrant and Michael Williams.)


            • #7
              Thailand should warn SA about their drug trafficking.


              • #8
                Thailand has a long track record of abuses of displaced people. Whether its North Koreans, Hmong refugees, Burmese, Nepalese, Cambodians, Rohingya etc. If you don't have some dosh to spend, then expect abuse.


                • #9
                  Thailand : Army orders trafficking crackdown



                  • #10
                    Trafficking Captives in Thailand Tell: Behind Bars, Fractured Families Fight to be Free
                    Chutima Sidasatian in Hat Yai and Alan Morison on Phuket
                    Sunday, October 19, 2014

                    Babies behind bars: Seven months' detention for families in Thailand
                    Photo by

                    Click a thumbnail to view more photographs

                    AS INTERNATIONAL concern mounts over human trafficking, the leader of a group of men, women and children who have been held captive for seven months in Thailand has made a desperate plea for help.

                    In a hand-written letter smuggled from the Immigration centre in the southern town of Padang Besar, the author talks of ''vulnerable women and children and physically weak men'' among the detainees.

                    The letter is headed: ''Appeal: The Thai government and humanitarian Thai people, world public opinion.''

                    The document came into the hands of a Phuketwan reporter yesterday in Thailand's south, where about 400 of the group have been held since March.

                    Although group spokespeople claim to have an affinity with Turkey and have support from the Turkish government, China says the group are members of its Uighur minority and wants them repatriated.

                    With the international arm-wrestle unresolved, the families at the centre of the dispute languish behind bars in southern Thailand. Thai officials grumble about the cost of supporting people who clearly do not wish to be in Thailand.

                    In the latest twist, some members of the group staged a two-day hunger strike in which the mothers also refused to allow their children to be fed.

                    After the 48-hour fast, seven women were banished from detention in Thailand's south to the province of Phang Nga, north of Phuket.

                    Two women said to be ring-leaders of the hunger strike were taken to Immigration detention in Phang Nga Town while five single women were to be held in a family shelter in Khao Lak.

                    The five women have since absconded, going over the wall at the low-security centre - and almost certainly into the hands of local Andaman coast people traffickers - after just two days. It's not known what the initial dispute was about.

                    The women fled with the arrival at the family shelter of several 17-year-old boys, youngest passengers among 134 boatpeople newly arrived from Bangladesh.

                    The men and boys were discovered in the hands of alleged human traffickers this week, near the town of Takuapa, not far from Khao Lak. With one exception, they told authorities they had been kidnapped.

                    The fate of those boatpeople is now being decided.

                    Although they all arrived in Thailand in the same boat from the same country, the likelihood is that Bangladeshi officials will take back their citizens but reject the stateless Rohingya refugees, even though they have been living in Bangladesh for as long as two decades and have families there.

                    Repatriations could happen quite quickly now that the international media has focused on the fate of the group, and human trafficking in Thailand.

                    The mysterious groups being held further south seem unlikely to be so fortunate.

                    Photographs taken yesterday in Padang Besar show young boys being held behind bars with their fathers, a decision that was accepted by Thai officials because the captive Muslim men insisted upon it.

                    North of Phuket, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists in the surrounding communities are equally insistent that arriving boatpeople be assessed to international standards to determine their future, not just quickly declared to be ''illegal immigrants'' and recycled into the hands of traffickers again.

                    Their community revolt against human trafficking is likely to win widespread support, especially with the expected arrival of record numbers of persecuted Rohingya from Burma's Rakhine state in Thailand during the ''safe'' sailing season between now and April.

                    While Thailand has clearly been stung into action by its mid-year demotion to Tier 3 in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report, most of that action has so far been cosmetic. Seminars don't save lives.

                    What the local activists are saying is that the coverup of the local cottage industry trade in people has to stop, and that Thailand needs to halt all trafficking - even if it has to do so alone, without help from Burma or its ineffective and disinterested Asean neighbors.

                    The plight of thousands of people said to be from China, from Bangladesh and from Burma will be filled with pain and suffering if Thailand fails to act while under international scrutiny.

                    *The letter from the leader of the people who have been held behind bars in southern Thailand for seven months can be read in full in the Photo Album above.



                    • #11
                      Thailand's Trafficking Trade Trauma Grows as Officials Avoid the Truth
                      Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison
                      Saturday, November 1, 2014

                      Bangladeshis in confinement at the Takuapa community hall yesterday
                      Photo by

                      TAKUAPA: Thailand must halt human trafficking or face putting its reputation at risk for endangering hundreds of the world's most destitute people.

                      The country's foreign ministry became embroiled in a case involving Bangladeshi boatpeople yesterday, adding chaos to a complex situation that requires clarity and a commitment to finding solutions, not covering up the truth.

                      Officials from the ministry complained and acted as censors when reporters from the BBC and Phuketwan attempted to film and talk to officials from Bangladesh.

                      The Bangladesh investigators had come to the town of Takuapa, north of Phuket, to interview 81 men and boys.

                      The group claimed they had been kidnapped but even if they were merely enticed into believing better jobs awaited them outside Bangladesh, the case clearly involves human trafficking.

                      It comes amid revelations that Rohingya minority Muslims are fleeing Burma (Myanmar) by the thousands and the first visual evidence that they face abuse, rape of the women and possible death because conditions in the secret jungle camps of southern Thailand are so appalling.

                      The scandalous way the countries of the region have allowed this shocking trade in people to evolve and grow was criticised in the Opinion pages of the International New York Times on Thursday with the lead article headed 'Enslaved Abroad, Oppressed at Home' dealing with Bangladesh and Thailand plus an Editorial entitled 'The Persecution of the Rohingya.'

                      The cat is out of the bag. Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a marketing organisation that prefers to hide the truth rather than solve the problem.

                      Trying to prevent the media reporting the story, as officials from the ministry appeared to be attempting yesterday, only serves to do Thailand more harm than good.

                      The fact is that the ministry should be concentrating on ending Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Rakhine state, where Thailand's human trafficking trauma begins.

                      In the five years since Phuketwan and the South China Morning Post newspaper exposed Thailand's inhumane ''pushbacks'' policy, Thailand has become a country through which thousands travel down a secret trafficking trail that should have been closed years ago.

                      Instead, the trail has been allowed to flourish and grow.

                      Thailand's Andaman holiday coast and southern provinces are now places where traffickers carry out their shocking business with impunity.

                      The good people of Takuapa town made a stand two weeks ago as traffickers attempted to truck 134 men and boys to secret jungle camps in southern Thailand.

                      Christian, Buddhist and Muslim volunteers, working with the district chief, apprehended the boatpeople in two groups, interviewed each of them to international standards, and declared them to be victims of human trafficking.

                      Local police usually pass boatpeople on quickly to Immigration officers as ''illegal immigrants,'' a classification that saves spending money on confining and feeding the arrivals and leaves Thailand's reputation free from taint.

                      But the stand by the local community, who want to put an end to human trafficking in Thailand, has disturbed the trafficking trail and led to alarm at the top levels in many government departments.

                      As a result, many telephone calls have been made from Bangkok to people on the ground in Takuapa, urging that the case should be treated as illegal immigration, not human trafficking.

                      Foreign Ministry officials appeared yesterday to blame the media for the mess.

                      The real reason: Thailand declines to confront Burma and prefers instead to sacrifice its own reputation along the ever-growing trafficking trails.

                      The trade in people continues, with no end in sight.

                      A final decision on the status of the Bangladeshi boatpeople is expected to become apparent early next week.



                      • #12
                        The scandalous way the countries of the region have allowed this shocking trade in people to evolve and grow was criticised in the Opinion pages of the International New York Times on Thursday with the lead article headed 'Enslaved Abroad, Oppressed at Home' dealing with Bangladesh and Thailand plus an Editorial entitled 'The Persecution of the Rohingya.'

                        'Enslaved Abroad, Oppressed at Home' :

                        'The Persecution of the Rohingya.' :


                        • #13
                          Thai police to wrap up human trafficking investigation by end June
                          Jun 10, 2015

                          BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai police said on Wednesday that they were winding down an investigation into human trafficking gangs, and planned to send a report of their findings to the country's attorney general by the end of June.

                          Thailand began a nationwide crackdown on human trafficking networks and suspected camps hidden deep in its jungles following last month's discovery of more than 30 bodies buried in human trafficking camps in the southern province of Songkhla.

                          Police officials, politicians and a military general are among the 53 people to have been arrested in the largest such investigation by Thai police. Arrest warrants have been issued for nearly 90 suspects, with about 36 people still on the run.

                          "We think that the police side of the investigation will be wrapped up by the end of this month," national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang told reporters. "We will send these cases to the attorney general by the end of June," he added.



                          • #14

                            5 December 2015

                            File photo from 2013 of Rohingya refugees sitting in a boat as they are intercepted by Thai authorities off the sea in Phuket, southern Thailand.
                            (PHOTO: AP) Reuterssecond round foreign minister had said the issue of Rohingya citizenship would not be discussed on Friday.
                            minority here.



                            • #15
                              Thailand plans leading role in anti-trafficking campaign
                              Chananthorn Kamjan & Prangthong Jitcharoenkul

                              Thailand has contributed US$100,000 (3.6 million baht) to an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) fund to run a regional information campaign aimed at raising awareness among migrants, the permanent secretary for the Foreign Ministry Apichart Chinwanno said yesterday.

                              "Thailand will also play a leading role in the campaign with the IOM to solve the problem at its root causes," he said.

                              The fund is meant to ensure migrants who might be victims of human trafficking rings understand the risks of trafficking networks. He said relatives will also be the campaign's targets as they normally pay for family members' migration.

                              Mr Apichart said the campaign is expected to prevent movements of irregular migrants from taking place in the future and tackle the number of smugglers across Southeast Asia.

                              The Myanmar representative pledged to take responsibility for its migrant problem but did not elaborate on how it would solve concerns directly related to the Rohingya.

                              Myanmar is currently in a transition period; thus the pledge to take responsibility is seen as very positive, Mr Apichart said.

                              A source said the meeting had discussed concrete ways to handle this problem and in setting up a special committee consisting of five affected countries and international organisations to be responsible for all related matters.

                              US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scott Busby pledged that the US will continue providing assistance to address the migrant problem through financial support and other assistance if needed.

                              Mr Busby said taking some migrants for resettlement via the UNHCR is one option in which the US can take part, but noted the primary solution must be found in the region.

                              European Union (EU) officials meanwhile will return to Thailand late next month to follow up on the country's efforts in tackling illegal fishing, according to Thai authorities.

                              Vice-Admiral Jumpol Lumpiganon, chief of the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing's public relations division, said Thai officials are working hard to address this problem, and the objective is to raise the country's fishing practices to measure up to international standards rather than only responding to EU concerns.

                              "I am unable to say what the EU assessment will be," Vice-Adm Jumpol said. "However, if the EU issues a red card, they will need to explain this."

                              Director-general of the Department of European Affairs, Rattikul Chansuriya, said the EU visit is to vet the country's attempts to end illegal fishing.



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