Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered relevant authorities to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labour as the country aims to improve the country's ranking in the US Trafficking in Persons Report next year.
Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the deputy prime minister, said Gen Prawit made clear the government's objective and goal of the campaign against human trafficking and slave labour when he kicked off a workshop in Phetchaburi.
According to Gen Prawit, tackling human trafficking is a national priority and more work needs to be done especially in identifying and protecting victims, notably those subjected to forced labour.
"The number of criminal actions against these illegal activities is in decline while traffickers are taking advantage of online technologies to recruit victims. Identifying victims is substandard and alleged involvement of state officials in trafficking and the use of forced labour remains," Gen Prawit was quoted as saying.
The deputy prime minister instructed agencies concerned to draw up guidelines to improve efficiency in law enforcement and told police and labour officials to set up a task force to identify and protect victims.
According to Gen Prawit, the government aims to upgrade the country's ranking from Tier 2 Watchlist to Tier 2 in 2022.
A Tier 2 ranking means that the country is making important strides in tackling human trafficking and is well on the way to full compliance with international trafficking laws and standards.
Thailand was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watchlist in the 2021 TIP annual report, which means the government is not in full compliance with minimum standards but is making significant efforts.
Meanwhile, almost 100 migrant workers were rounded up in Ranong and Sa Kaeo provinces in the stepped-up crackdown on illegal border crossings, said local officials.
In Ranong's La-un district, a total of 63 workers from Myanmar were detained when authorities stopped and searched a car and found 21 men squeezed inside.
The 29-year-old Thai driver admitted that he was transporting them to an oil palm plantation where another 21 men and women had already been dropped off.
According to officials, the migrant workers were heading to Songkhla's Hat Yai district and Malaysia.
In Sa Kaeo, a joint task force arrested 32 Cambodian nationals including three boys while they were sneaking into the country via Khok Sung district. None of them had travel documents.
The detainees said they were smuggled in by Cambodian agents and planned to seek work in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao.
It is believed that the recent influx of migrant workers was triggered by Tuesday's deadline for illegally hired workers to report and be allowed to stay and work legally in the country.