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Thailand’s drop to Tier 2 Watch List in US’s trafficking report ‘not fair’, says MFA

Thailand’s relegation to Tier 2 Watch List, down from Tier 2 last year, in the US State Department’s 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report “does not reflect fairly the significant efforts and concrete progress Thailand has made in combatting human trafficking,” said Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Tanee Sangrat today (Friday).

“The TIP Report, after all, unilaterally makes an evaluation from the U.S.’ perspective and by no means represents any international standard,” Mr. Tanee said of the annual report, released in the early hours of Friday.

Claiming that Thailand has made progress over the years in combatting human trafficking, which is among the country’s national agenda, Mr. Tanee noted the shorter time it has taken, over the past year, to complete the prosecution process, that 67% of offenders have been received severe sentences, with at least five years in prison, and that a new trend of online human trafficking amid the ongoing pandemic has been addressed.

In terms of prevention, migrant workers from neighbouring Cambodia, the Lao PDR and Myanmar have also been granted extended stays, until end of March 2022, while 240,572 migrant workers have received protection and welfare, in accordance with relevant laws, and that new laws have been enacted to raise the standard of living and facilities on fishing boats, as well as facilitation of the “sea book” registration process for migrant fishery workers, he added.

Thailand was ranked in Tier 3 in the 2014 and 2015 reports, amid international media’s exposés of poor working conditions for migrant workers on Thai fishing boats, dubbed “modern slavery”. Thailand was promoted to Tier 2 Watch List in 2016, and again, to Tier 2, a position the country had maintained since 2018.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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