'Protect-U' app gives big boost to victims
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'Protect-U' app gives big boost to victims

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'Protect-U' app gives big boost to victims
A Social Development and Human Security Ministry official shows how to use a mobile anti-human trafficking application called 'Protect-U'. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

In a bid to improve support for human-trafficking victims and whistle-blowers, the government is making its "Protect-U" mobile application available for download on the iOS platform used by Apple devices.

Launched on March 15 last year, the smartphone app has until now been limited to Android-platform users, said Poramethi Wimonsiri, permanent secretary for social development and human security.

The application is easy to use and enables victims or whistle-blowers to send their GPS location on Google Maps, he said.

Users can add more information so that authorities would be able to reach and help them, he said.

And because potential victims of human trafficking rings in Thailand could be from a foreign country, he said, the app also offers information about their rights in Thailand in six other languages, namely English, Burmese, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese and Chinese.

The application also allows the Social Development and Human Security Ministry to arrange interpreters for human-trafficking victims who need them, he said.

An interpreter can be requested in advance via one feature in the application, he said.

The interpreter service in four languages -- Thai, Burmese, Cambodian and Lao -- would soon become more interactive, similar to the system available to customers via the Grab Taxi application, he said.

The Protect-U app has been hailed as an efficient way for both victims and witnesses to report incidents of suspected human-trafficking to authorities, he said.

Other channels via which whistle-blowers and victims could seek help include the human-trafficking complaint centres run by the Royal Thai Police and the Foreign Ministry, those run by other non-governmental organisations and the ministry's hotline 1300, he said.

Meanwhile, the latest report on Thailand's human trafficking situation, due to be submitted to authorities in the United States, will be presented to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha by late next month, he said.

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