Human trafficking: PM hopes Thailand will be further upgraded to Tier 1
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha aims to improve the human trafficking situation in the country so that Thailand is upgraded to Tier 1 on the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report.
Government deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek said Prayut expressed the wish during a weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, when the Cabinet was informed about the annual human trafficking suppression and prevention report for 2021.
Last month, the US State Department upgraded Thailand from its Tier 2 Watchlist to Tier 2. The kingdom had been downgraded to the watchlist on July 1, 2021, from Tier 2 in 2020.
Ratchada said Prayut thanked all government agencies concerned for joining forces to fight human trafficking, which helped in the removal of the country from the watchlist.
She also said Prayut extended moral support to the government agencies battling the scourge and expressed hope that such crimes would be eliminated once and for all from the kingdom.
In its 2021 report, the Social Development and Human Security Ministry informed the Cabinet that human traffickers were arrested and criminal charges filed in 188 cases. The number rose by about 42 per cent from the 133 cases in 2020.
The report stated that legal action was taken against 17 government officials in 2021 for being involved in human trafficking, while 414 victims were placed under a protection programme.
The number of victims helped by the government last year rose by 79 per cent from the previous year.
Ratchada said 148 victims were placed in rehabilitation centres in 2021 and the government reduced the monitoring period in these centres from 158 days in 2020 to 143 last year.
The spokeswoman said the ministry spent 153 per cent more on operations to protect witnesses in 2021, compared to the previous year. The ministry also spent 124 per cent more to compensate victims in 2021, compared to the previous year.
Among the measures employed to increase efficiency in suppression and prevention of human trafficking, the government would recruit more officials, increase anti-human trafficking command centre powers and provide a better method to receive public complaints, Ratchada added.