US elevates Thailand to best child-labour category

national October 02, 2015 01:00

By THE NATION

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THE UNITED States has recognised Thailand's solid progress in fighting the worst forms of child labour.



In the “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour 2014”, a new report compiled by the US Department of Labour, Thailand has been put in the “significant advancement” category – the highest category.

Only 13 countries performed well enough to get into this category. 
The department’s Bureau of International Labour Affairs evaluated 140 countries and territories based on their efforts to reduce child labour and reported on whether they had made significant, moderate, minimal or no advancement. 
In the 2013 report, Thailand sat in the “moderate advancement” category. 
Thailand’s better ranking is based on its evident efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. 
In the 2014 report, the Bureau of International Labour Affairs said: “Despite political unrest during the year and a military coup in May 2014, the government took actions to address child labour. Thailand made changes to its legal framework to raise the minimum age for agricultural work from 13 to 15 years, and for work on sea fishing vessels from 16 to 18 years. 
“It also created a national policy committee, including several subcommittees and task forces, to improve policy formulation, interagency coordination, and implementation regarding migrant workers and human-trafficking problems.” 
The bureau added: “The government funded and participated in multiple programmes that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labour, including its worst forms.”
Thailand, moreover, implemented social programmes that aimed to increase access to education for children from marginalised groups who are most vulnerable to labour exploitation, it noted. 
The bureau has, however, raised some concerns about child-labour issues in Thailand.
It said children in Thailand continued to work in agriculture, including in the shrimp and seafood-processing sector and in the worst forms of child labour, including commercial sex exploitation. 
The bureau also mentions child Muay Thai boxers in the report, saying children as young as seven are paid to fight using no protective equipment.
It said Thailand remained weak in its enforcement efforts in the fishing, agriculture, manufacturing and home-based business and informal sectors. The government also lacked nationwide data on child labour, which impeded the effectiveness of policies and programmes.
Meanwhile, the team investigating human-trafficking and money-laundering cases in Padang Besar Police Station’s jurisdiction yesterday released its report to the Office of the Attorney-General. 
The cases created big headlines early this year, prompting various relevant authorities to dig deep into the scandal. 
At present, courts have approved arrest warrants for 153 suspects for their alleged role in human trafficking. Of these suspects, 62 remain on the run. 
Courts have approved arrest warrants for 79 suspects for their alleged role in money laundering. Of them, 39 remain on the run. 

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