Thailand’ Efforts to Combat Trafficking Have Shown Marked Improvement
There are several ways in which Thailand has ramped up counter trafficking efforts. “First of all, there is a clear instruction from the top echelon – a strong leadership. Second, there is enough budget to support all activity related to anti-human trafficking. Third, there is efficient coordination and follow-up by concerned authorities among 22 agencies. Fourth, both the Office of the Attorney-General and the courts have improved their filing of cases with quicker process. Fifth, there is better utilisation of the joint inter-agency database system. Sixth, administration of justice has been transparent and forceful. And seventh, severe punishment is provided for perpetrators with a high-risk and no-return proposition. Other factors include assistance from non-governmental organisations and technical know-how and capacity building from friendly countries.”
Also noted, to combat child labour, child pornography and child beggars, “the government has set up the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) task force based on a US model. This ad hoc body comprises 220 police officials who can conduct both field and digital forensic investigations. This task force is also linked to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Homeland Security watchdog, which would provide necessary online database on sexual exploitation and human trafficking cases.”
Source: The Nation
Thai Officials Aim for Upgrade in Status to Reflect Counter Trafficking Efforts
“Officials said they have made efforts to enact new legislation, prosecute trafficking cases more stringently and provide more support for victims. ‘Even though there are still a few remaining challenges and some work to do, we have made significant progress,’ said Songsak Saicheua, a Foreign Ministry official overseeing relations with the United States.”
Source: Bangkok Post
TICAC and ACT Center Expands to Pattaya
A multi disciplinary approach to counter trafficking efforts and reduction in child exploitation cases expands to a new center opening in Pattaya.
Source: Pattaya Mail
Defense Phase Begins in Landmark Trafficking Trial
After mass graves containing trafficking victims were found in a southern province, the trial to prosecute the offenders is underway, and the defense phase has begun, “with scores of witnesses expected to testify, including a three-star army general who is among more than 100 defendants.”
Source: Benar News
There’s an App for That: New App Helps Thai Women Who Might Be Trafficking Victims
The Women’s Affairs and Family Development Department has introduced a mobile app called Yingthai which provides information on support networks in foreign countries, legal and cultural tips, important contact numbers, tips on preparing for overseas trips, and contact information for Thai organizations abroad. The goal is to help Thai women who have run into trouble overseas, with particular focus on trafficking victims.
Source: Bangkok Post
Flight Attendant Makes Headlines For Saving Trafficking Victim
A flight attendant recognized a potential victim and acted to get help for the victim and notify authorities, who arrested the possible trafficker upon landing. Her action also highlighted new training programs to help flight crew identify possible victims.
Source: SF Gate
Reports of Human Trafficking Increased 35%
The National Human Trafficking Hotline, which is run by Polaris, found that 7,500 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016. The hotline “maintains a resource center for victims of trafficking and aggregates statistics based on incoming reports and phone calls. It also reported that California and Texas are again among the most egregious states for human trafficking.”
Source: NBC News
Note: According to Polaris, the increase is attributed mostly to people spreading awareness of human trafficking and the Hotline.
Three Nonprofit Leaders Speak Out on Top Priorities in Fighting Trafficking
Leaders from Polaris, Love 146, and Shared Hope International discuss improving state policies, building better data collection, advancing education and awareness, and collaborative efforts between government, nongovernmental organizations, law enforcement, service providers and the everyday citizen.
UNICEF Report on What’s Next In The Fight Against Child Trafficking
Great strides and important advancements have been made, but the greatest challenge lies ahead, especially with the vulnerability of children who are refugees migrating due to war and violence. They are prone to abuse and exploitation, trafficking, and to being forced into labor as child soldiers.