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Thailand readies for release of US human trafficking report

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  • Thailand readies for release of US human trafficking report

    Thailand readies for release of US human trafficking report
    Bangkok Pundit
    Jun 18, 2014

    AP with some background last week:
    Next week, when a U.S. report on human trafficking comes out, Thailand may be punished for allowing that exploitation. , joining the ranks of North Korea, Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe.

    Though Thailand says it is trying to prevent such abuses and punish traffickers, its authorities have been part of the problem. The U.S. has said the involvement of corrupt officials appears to be widespread, from protecting brothels and workplaces to cooperating directly with traffickers.

    BP. Most went to Japan and the U.S., where it ranks as the No. 3 foreign supplier.

    The United Nations estimates the industry employs 2 million people, but it still faces a massive worker shortage. Many Thais are unwilling to take the low-paid, dangerous jobs that can require fishermen to be at sea for months or even years at a time.

    An estimated 200,000 migrants, mostly from neighboring Myanmar and Cambodia, are laboring on Thai boats, according to the Bangkok-based nonprofit Raks Thai Foundation. Some go voluntarily, but a U.N. survey last year of nearly 600 workers in the fishing industry found that almost none had a signed contract, and about 40 percent had wages cut without explanationA 2009 U.N. report found that about six out of 10 migrant workers on Thai fishing boats reported seeing a co-worker killed.The Thai government, however, does not address these asylum seekers as trafficking victims in its report.
    From the 2013 report:

    The Government of Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government has not shown sufficient evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year;

    therefore, Thailand is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year. Thailand was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan. The government disbursed the equivalent of approximately $3.7 million for anti-trafficking efforts in 2012 and reported investigating 305 trafficking cases, versus 83 in 2011, but initiated prosecutions in only 27 cases during the year and obtained only 10 convictions. In order to incentivize victims to testify, the government issued more temporary work permits to victims who participated in prosecutions. The government registered more than 800,000 undocumented migrants over the course of the year, but it failed to adequately regulate brokers, reduce the high costs associated with registration, or allow registered migrants to change employers. Pervasive trafficking-related corruption and weak interagency coordination continued to impede progress in combating trafficking.

    The tiers per the US State Department:
    TIER 1TIER 2TIER 2 WATCH LISTabsolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;

    b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or

    c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

    TIER 3

    Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

    Some in the seafood industry are resigned to a downgrade. Undercurrents:Achara Deboonme in The Nation:
    In April, US lawmakers called on the Obama administration to punish countries that do too little to fight human trafficking, including Thailand and Malaysia.

    EJF has a summary of the Thai vote at the ILO:
    The Protocol, which will be added to the Forced Labour Convention of 1930 (No. 29), there were a total of eight votes against the Protocol, with four coming from representatives of employers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Malaysia and Slovenia. The remaining four votes all came from Thailand, with the Government accounting for two votes while Thai employers and workers representatives contributed one vote each
    BP: You read that right, Thailand was the only country where the government representatives voted against the Protocol (again, the only). Below is a list of the Thai delegates for the meeting from the ILO site for 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference:BP: There are another 30+ substitute delegates or advisors for the various categories, but the government representatives are both long-time Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees (foreign journalists who have been here a few years will remember Thani no doubt who was the Director-General of the Department of Information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also spokesperson back in 2010 when there was a lot of tension between the then government and journalists). The government representatives were not recalled for failure to vote in accordance with the wishes of the junta.

    MFA on the reasons for the vote against the Protocol:
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to address the news which reported Thailand being the only country to oppose the vote on the adoption of new ILO ProtocolHowever, to adopt any specific instrument, Thailand has to seriously consider her own readiness to implement such an instrument, in conformity with relevant Thai laws. Therefore, Thailand did not vote in favour of the Protocol but vote in support of the Recommendation as it could promptly be implemented.
    BP: Well, there is the abstain option then, but for whatever reason, Thailand decided to vote against adopting the new Protocol although a few days later changed their mind

    (UPDATE: To clarify, Thailand cannot reverse its vote, but they like any other country can ratify the Protocol). Undercurrents again:
    Seemingly at the worst possible time, Thailand last week voted against an ILO protocol designed to strengthen the fight against labor issues. Days later it reversed this decision amid a tumult of anger from NGOs and the public, stating it was unclear whether it had the power to ratify a treaty while its political situation was still as confused as it is.

    It would be symbolic at this point, but it is important that it happens
    The Guardian:
    Under US law there is a time limit how many years a country can stay on the tier-2 watch list before it is automatically downgraded to tier 3,If the US government determines that Thailand has made improvements it can be raised up, but if it has not, there is no longer an opportunity to have any waivers or delay
    Western diplomats told VOA they expect Thailand to be dropped to Tier 3But if it happens that we will be downgraded to be Tier 3 we are prepared to go ahead with all efforts to combat human trafficking. We will intensify the prosecution and law enforcement, step up protection and prevention system, increase and expand international partnerships with other countries
    BP: Yes, Thailand disagrees and wants an upgrade.

    A group of organizations including the AFLCIO and HRW have signed a joint letter to downgrade Thailand to Tier III:
    We understand that Thailand is an important ally of the United States, and that you have a number of bilateral issues to consider. However, the United States should make very clear its concern about the systematic abuse of migrant workers in Thailand, who produce products destined for the U.S. market. If Thailand is allowed to continue its practice of undertaking cosmetic efforts at addressing the issue of human trafficking while ignoring or even encouraging the root causes of the problem, it will continue to get worse. The United States should evaluate the Government of Thailand rigorously and hold it accountable to the standards laid out in the TVPRA by moving Thailand to Tier III in the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. Far from making credible efforts to fight trafficking, the Thai government has perpetuated policies that foster trafficking of migrant workers within its borders and deny them access to protection and redress.

    BPThe Guardian

  • #2
    Junta denies mishandling migrant workers
    Tue, 17/06/2014

    The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued an announcement on Monday saying that it does not have a policy to arrest or crack down on migrant workers. It follows various news reports that around 70,000 Cambodian workers fled Thailand last week for fear of being abused.

    The junta also denied that Thailand has problems with human trafficking, slave labour or abuse of workers as alleged by human rights organizations and the international community, according to its Announcement No. 67

    Previously on May 10, the NCPO established a Migrant Workers Management Committee as well as a Sub-Committee on Migrant Workers Management, both with high-ranking military officers as committee chairs.

    Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Acting Foreign Minister, denied any crackdown on workers and said the measures taken were to organize illegal migrant workers into the system so they can benefit from legal protection.

    He said he planned to discuss the migrant workers policy with the Cambodian ambassador to Thailand.

    Meanwhile the spokesperson of the 2nd Army Region Col. Chinkart Ratanajitti said it was able to arrest 6,441 illegal migrant workers during June 1-15, 2014. Of those, 6,265 are Cambodian and 185 are Lao.


    • #3
      The junta also denied that Thailand has problems with human trafficking, slave labour or abuse of workers as alleged by human rights organizations and the international community, according to its Announcement No. 67

      words fail .................

      See Also :

      Thailand snubs pact to halt forced labour

      Thailand's seafood industry: a case of state-sanctioned slavery?


      • #4
        Tier 3

        report and new thread here :


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