Thailand downgraded in US human trafficking report

Thailand downgraded in US human trafficking report

Foreign Ministry disappointed at lower tier

Workers unload the catch from a fishing trawler at a pier in Samut Sakhon. Forced labour in the fishing sector is a major concern in the US Trafficking in Persons Report. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Workers unload the catch from a fishing trawler at a pier in Samut Sakhon. Forced labour in the fishing sector is a major concern in the US Trafficking in Persons Report. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The United States has downgraded Thailand's attempts to tackle human trafficking, with the use of forced labour a major concern.

The latest US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report demotes Thailand from Tier 2 to the Tier 2 Watchlist for the first time in four years.

The report said less effort had been demonstrated in combatting the problem, with forced migrant labour among Washington's main concerns.

"The government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity," the report said.

The downgrade is totally against the expectations of the government, which last year started lobbying to be moved up to Tier 1 after three consecutive years on Tier 2.

"Smugglers, brokers, employers, and others exploit Thai and migrant workers in labour trafficking in commercial fishing and related industries, the poultry industry, manufacturing, agriculture, domestic work, and street begging," the report said.

The Foreign Ministry said it was disappointed by the report, which failed to reflect the progress on these issues made in Thailand.

"The TIP Report, after all, unilaterally makes an evaluation from the US’s very own view and by no means represents any international standard," it said in a statement.

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