UN rights expert urges Thailand to combat human trafficking News
UN rights expert urges Thailand to combat human trafficking
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[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on human trafficking Joy Ngozi Ezeilo [official profile] on Monday urged the government of Thailand to improve measures to combat human trafficking [press release], as well as protect the rights of migrant workers. The trafficking trade in Thailand is predominantly used for sexual and labor exploitation, with child trafficking especially rampant. Individuals are forced into prostitution, pornography, domestic work and surrogacy, among other abuses. Ezeilo described Thailand as a “source, transit and destination” country, meaning citizens are recruited in Thailand and the country both receives and sends individuals through trafficking channels. The special rapporteur applauded the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 [text, PDF] and the multidisciplinary teams that are stationed in Thai provinces and tasked with addressing trafficking problems, but said the implementation and enforcement of anti-trafficking measures were weak. Ezeilo called for a proactive stance against human trafficking and urged Thailand to combat trafficking on an international level:

In the context of Thailand, the role of prevention is critical in ensuring that the crime of trafficking does not occur in the first place. The Government must not neglect the development and implementation of comprehensive and systematic prevention measures as it continue to intensify efforts to developing assistance programmes for survivors of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers and stop the impunity of human trafficking. Finally, I urge Thai government to show clear leadership in the ASEAN region and beyond in combating human trafficking, protecting the rights of migrant workers and their vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons.

Ezeilo made numerous recommendations for implementing effective measures to combat trafficking, including a zero-tolerance policy against corruption and trafficking, as well as the creation of shelters for victims.

Thailand is not the sole country facing human trafficking challenges. In June 2010, the US State Department (DOS) [official website] released its annual report [text, PDF] on human trafficking conditions across the globe, finding that the US adequately complies [JURIST report] with international regulations but still has a “‘serious problem with human trafficking, both for labor and commercial sexual exploitation.” It was the tenth annual report on human trafficking by the DOS, following reports in 2009 [JURIST report], 2008 [materials], 2007 and 2006 [JURIST reports]. That same month, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] detailing the ongoing problem of human trafficking [JURIST report] in Europe. According to the report, European criminal organizations make a yearly profit of around $3 billion from trafficking humans for sexual exploitation or forced labor. In January 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled that sex trafficking violates conventions [JURIST report] against slavery and forced labor. The US and the EU announced in October 2009 an international criminal treaty [JURIST report] that will greatly increase cooperation between the two governments in fighting the trafficking of humans and the sale of illegal drugs.