Thai Union Frozen Products (TUF), a leading Thai processor and exporter of canned and frozen seafood products, urged the government to immediate act on law enforcement following the United States' decision to downgrade Thailand in the Trafficking in Pers
The report was released on Friday, whereby Thailand's rating was downgraded from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 3 due to inadequate actions by the government.
“We take the result of the Trafficking in Persons Report very seriously. We must now sit together with all key stakeholders and develop concrete and tangible solutions to quell this chapter of degradation as soon as possible," said Thiraphong Chansiri, president and CEO of Thai Union Group.
“We appeal to the current Thai administration and the upcoming interim government to swiftly construct a forceful action plan to rigidly enforce all applicable laws to freeing victims, preventing trafficking and bringing traffickers to justice and serve the way forward in supporting industries, organizations and NGOs in order to rectify Thailand’s human rights violations and labour malpractices of any kind. We will give – as we have been giving - our utmost support to contribute to a long term sustainably growing economy,” he added.
The US has not yet imposed any sanctions following the downgrade. The exports of shrimp, one of the key products of several Thai companies including TUF, is expected to face sanctions, if any.
Thiraphong expressed his disappointment on the downgrade.
"We had hoped that the continued concerted effort by the Thai fishing industry and relevant government units to eradicate illegal and unethical labour practices would retain or move Thailand up from Tier 2 watch list," he said.
“We appreciate the US concern on human rights issues pertaining to labour and, apparently, this verdict indicates that the Thailand is seen as not doing enough to solve the issues despite the increased efforts of the Thai fishing industry to work rigorously with its Thai and international partners to take meaningful and visible steps to promote human rights and well-being of the people in all its business network.”