Even though Thailand is on the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women, and has signed and ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, human trafficking both in and out of Thailand, as well as across Thailand, and sexual slavery of women and children continues to be a huge problem in Thailand.
This is predominantly because of the demand created by sex tourists, who pay a few dollars for the exploitation, abuse and acts of violence against women and children.
Another contributing factor of the commonplace practice of the exploitation of women and girls through trafficking and sexual slavery in Thailand, is the belief that women are inferior to men, and that they have been born a woman as a punishment for the wrong that they have done in their previous life.
Buddhism is practiced by approximately 95% of Thai people.
This leads to extreme disparities between men and women – a girl’s chance for education, to have a meaningful career, and to be respected and protected by her community remains low.
This was all challenged at a recent meeting chaired by the Prime Minister of Thailand, set up to evaluate progress made on solving the human trafficking situation on the 24 December 2014.
The meeting sought to review the effectiveness of the existing implemented anti-human trafficking measures, and to discuss further monthly plans in suppressing human trafficking, in prostitution, the trafficking of children, forced beggars, and human trafficking in the fishing industry.
The meeting acknowledged the progress made and challenges faced by the concerned agencies involved with combating human trafficking, and designated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be the chief agency responsible for disseminating information on Thailand’s progress in combating human trafficking to the international community.
The Prime Minister instructed that there be a review of the existing working methods on combating human trafficking, and has called for the prompt progression of legal cases involving human trafficking, as applicable to the Royal Thai Police, the Special Investigations Bureau, the Anti-Money Laundering Organisation, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Courts of Justice.
The Prime Minister also called for all concerned agencies responsible for the arresting and handling of human trafficking cases, to expedite judicial procedures against alleged perpetrators efficiently, fairly and transparently, in particular cases involving government officials.
The Prime Minister also called for agencies to enforce the law and pursue investigations to reach influential figures and criminal masterminds, in strict accordance with the law, and for all concerned agencies involved with the prosecution, to promptly pursue such cases.
The Prime Minister has designated the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission to urgently issue regulations and specify time-frames for legal cases involving government officials alleged to have been involved in human trafficking.
The Prime Minister also instructed concerned agencies to look out for officials suspected of being involved with illegal immigration and human trafficking and if caught to swiftly and resolutely proceed with legal procedures against them.
Victims of human trafficking or those wishing to report incidents of human trafficking or incidences of corruption related to human trafficking in Thailand can contact
1. OSCC- One Stop Crisis Center, call 1300
2. Office of the Secretariat of the Commission on Preventing and Suppressing Human Trafficking (Ministry of Social Development and Human Security), call 02 659 6464
3. 1st Directorate, Anti Human Trafficking Division, call 02 5137117 or 1191
4. Department of Employment, call 02 2482040 or 1694
5. Child, Youth and Women Welfare Centre, Royal Thai Police, call 02 282-3892-3 or 02 954-2346-7
6. Centre Against International Human Trafficking, Office of the Attorney General, call 02 142 2031
7. Ministry of Labour, 02 232-1462-4
8. Labour Employment Hotline, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare