Anti-trafficking manual for police
- Published: 26/12/2012 at 06:51 PM
- Online news:
A manual for police officers on how to address human trafficking issues was launched as part of a plan to show Thailand's commitment in enforcing anti-trafficking laws and a better image ahead of the annual United States trafficking report due early next year.
The book launch was organised Wednesday by the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and the Royal Thai Police, with the US sponsorship.
Pol Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit, a level-10 adviser to the Royal Thai Police on investigation, said the annual trafficking report issued by the US has become a wake-up call to improve efficiency of the Thai law enforcement agencies, and the guidebook for the authorities was hopefully be part of the efforts.
"Human trafficking has existed even before the report launch in 2000, but the report is de facto a mirror for us to address some loopholes seen by the outsiders," said Pol Gen Chatchawal.
The 346-page guidebook was given to 100 police officers from the Children Women and Family Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking Centre, Border Patrol Police, regional police and two police representatives from the deep South.
More copies would be later sent to nearly 1,500 police stations nationwide, said Pol Gen Chatchawal, who was assigned to head the Anti-Trafficking Center since October after serving as the Immigration Commissioner for some time.
Pol Gen Chatchawal has asked police nationwide to provide specific information about vulnerable areas that would soon be compiled to systematically map potential trafficking sites.
Usually, the places rife with trafficking, he said, would include areas of tourist attractions, karaokes, and coastal provinces that housed migrant workers, etc.
He conceded that there are loopholes and room for improvement in addressing the issue, not only because of the US report, but due to the greater complications and the scope of the problem.
Police officers needed to have a thorough understanding of relevant laws to be able to address the human trafficking problems since the crime and the victims were taking place under various circumstances, for example, in fishing trawlers, in restaurants and bar, in forests, and upon immigration, etc, said Pol Gen Chatchawal.
He conceded that field officers might have problems in applying the guidebook into real practice, but still it was better than having nothing.
The guidebook might also be translated into English for Asean exchange of knowledge, he said.
He said police were focusing on women being trafficked into prostitution, trafficked beggars, trafficked migrants, and would enhance its efforts in prosecution to get the real culprits.
He conceded that out of 80 to 100 complaints a month, there were very few that could get to the final judicial process.
But he also cited difficulties in tackling the problem, "On drug cases, once the authorities get some drugs the persons could be charged, but the trafficking involve a person and it is not easily to identify or get access to the victims."
Pol Gen Chatchawal, however, has set monthly target for the police to aim at proceeding at least five trafficking cases.
Somchai Homla-or, the HRDF secretary, said Thailand was keen to address trafficking of women and children, but still unaware of the trafficking of workers since differentiation between the illegal immigrants and the trafficked persons as well as migrant illegal migrant workers was difficult.
Challenges were greater as the trafficked persons were aliens, and or the trafficking took place at sea in neighbouring or international waters, said Mr Somchai.
He also called for the police officers to be well aware of the human rights aspect which were ingrained in the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons law.
Rarinthip Sirorat, deputy permanent secretary for social development and human security, said Thailand has been placed in Tier 2 Watch-list of the US Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report (TRIP Report) for three years already due to cumbersome and unclear practices on the victims identification and screenings, belated prosecution, unseen punitive measures for authorities involvement in trafficking cases, and poor labour inspection.
Ms Rarinthip said there were other reports by the US such as on labour and on human rights that Thailand had to take into account and show some improvement was in introduced.
"Though not quite happy with those reports as we are doing wholeheartedly what we should do and some information in those reports are not updated, but these reports in a way help remind relevant parties in the law enforcement agencies to really work more unison and in a concerted manner," she said.
Her ministry, as a focal point in compiling responding measures for the US, would submit latest information to the State Department next month for 2013 report to be issued in June.
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat