Sanctions await unless US placated

Thailand will have to demonstrate its progress in combating human trafficking to the US by next month, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) says.

This is if it wants to reverse current trade sanctions and prevent even more severe penalties from being imposed.

Pol Lt Col Paisit Sangkhapong, director of the DSI's anti-human trafficking centre, yesterday admitted the problem showed little sign of abating.

Thailand has been on the US government's Tier 2 Watch List in the Trafficking in Persons Report for the past two years.

The US Department of State will review the country's status again next month.

If Thailand makes the Tier 2 Watch list for a third consecutive time, it will be automatically downgraded to Tier 3 _ the lowest classification _ which could mean the imposition of even more stringent non-tariff sanctions.

The US has already imposed trade sanctions on five types of goods from the kingdom, including shrimp and textiles, after it found that Thailand had failed to adequately address human trafficking problems, particularly the use of child labour.

"Thailand will have to prepare information on anti-human trafficking operations it has carried out in the past six months and explain the progress of those operations to the US by next month," Pol Lt Col Paisit said.

Related agencies will first have to submit reports of their work to the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, he said.

The reports will then be forwarded to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which will present them to the US government as evidence of the kingdom's efforts to tackle human trafficking, he said.

Thailand is still a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking, Pol Lt Col Paisit said, with many victims, mostly migrant women, lured into the flesh trade.

There were still many cases of child labour exploitation and of Thai and migrant workers being lured to work on fishing trawlers in slave-like conditions, he said.

About the author

Writer: King-oua Laohong
Position: Reporter