Thailand aims for better ranking on US watch list

The government is aiming to improve Thailand's position in the United States' ranking of efforts to fight human trafficking, deputy government spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting on human trafficking suppression yesterday, Lt Sunisa said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had appointed Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana as chairman of the government team responsible for preparing reports on Thailand's human trafficking situation.

The country is required to submit the first report to the US next month and another report would then be submitted in February, Lt Sunisa said.

The reports would be taken into consideration when the US reviews its ranking of the countries' progress in combating human trafficking, she said.

A new report called Trafficking in Persons Report will be released after the new review.

Thailand is currently on the Tier 2 watch list of the US and the government aims to move up to Tier 1 or at least remain in the same position.

According to the US Department of State's website, Tier 1 is described as countries whose governments fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards.

Tier 2, meanwhile, refers to countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA's minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Ms Yingluck, who chaired yesterday's meeting, stressed that the relevant agencies had to clearly present accurate facts about Thailand's human trafficking situation, the efforts being done to tackle the problem, and clear explanations on points that the US had doubted, Lt Sunisa said.

Thailand is still seen as a serious human trafficking offender, as only a small number of suspects have been prosecuted on human trafficking charges, she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok was appointed to direct the suppression of human trafficking, she said.

Furthermore, Ms Yingluck also emphasised that police, public prosecutors and the courts should now begin to work more closely together in the fight against human trafficking, Lt Sunisa said.

About the author

Writer: Patsara Jikkham
Position: Reporter