Society 'must unite to stamp out child trafficking'

Society 'must unite to stamp out child trafficking'

Thailand's moves to tackle child sex trafficking are showing positive results but require the enhanced participation of civil society to make serious inroads, experts said yesterday in Bangkok.

Experts from Thailand and the United States discussed best practices in tackling the trafficking of women and children at the Conference on United Partnerships against Human Trafficking organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They called for a more collective approach featuring the inclusion of society as whole, with greater cooperation within and across organisations.

The document they released later stressed that, apart from protecting and promoting human rights, the government needs to instill a greater sense of ethics in its citizens and better educate them on human rights and the importance of repudiating all forms of exploitation.

It said this educational drive should start with young schoolchildren.

The government was also urged to increase its budget and human resources to combat trafficking.

Pol Col Thakoon Nimsomboon, deputy commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said partnerships among government agencies and civil society are crucial given police constraints in terms of manpower and budget.

He noted that partners in civil society are important as they often provide tip-offs. These can lead to busts of criminal syndicates that prey on the vulnerable, he added.

"We need to support good NGOs who have a clear goal of eradicating the trafficking of children so they can continue their hard work. At the same time, the Royal Thai Police must increase the number of capable personnel at the agency,'' said Pol Col Thakoon.

Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children, a task force under his supervision, has been working with various NGOs and government agencies to crack down on traffickers, he said.

But it needs to adopt more advanced technology on forensics and other areas, he added.

Pol Gen Tamasak Wicharaya, an adviser to the police, stressed the importance of inter-agency cooperation and partnerships between government agencies and the private sector.

He said criminals have adapted to recent crackdowns and are finding new ways to skirt the law and commit crimes online.

The conference also raised the possibility of establishing a Thailand Centre for Mission and Exploited Children modelled on a similar centre in the US.

The socio-economic causes of trafficking must also be rooted out, the FBI said.

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