Police and other agencies enlisted to tackle issue 'within one month'
COMBATING human trafficking has been made a national priority in an attempt to remove Thailand from the bottom tier in the US State Department’s upcoming Trafficking in Persons report.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha commissioned his deputy Prawit Wongsuwan and other heads of concerned agencies including the Royal Thai Police to carry out the task.
Combating human trafficking is an important matter for the government in terms of the public having a better understanding of the issue and integrating the operation of all concerned parties, Prayut said yesterday.
Since the US downgraded Thailand to tier three in the TIP report last year, the government has adopted the so-called five “Ps” plan to tackle the problem, namely policy and mechanisms, prosecution, prevention, protection, and partnership.
“Thailand is not a super power that sets its own rules for international practices on the matter,” Prayut said. “We have to accept our mistake and correct it.”
A lot of trafficked people are lured into illegal work in Thailand such as begging and prostitution, he said, adding that the government has to solve the problem within one month.
The government submitted a progress report to Washington last month to indicate the effort undertaken over the past year to combat human trafficking in a bid to have a better status in the latest TIP report, which will be released in June.
Government officials must not ignore the problem, Prayut said, adding that officials involved in trafficking will be punished severely.
He said his government took the issue of human trafficking seriously, especially the case of forced workers found working in Thai fishing trawlers in Indonesia.
“But the media should not broaden the issue too much, since some of them work illegally outside the country. If they are put under the media spotlight, they might not be released,” he said.
Deputy police chief General Aek Angsananont said the Royal Thai Police considered tackling human trafficking a priority. Police would enforce anti-human trafficking laws effectively to deal with the problem.
Police have the authority to shut down any entertainment business or factory which employs illegal migrants, he said.
The government has emphasised the preventive measures to bloc the movement of trafficked people, Aek said.
As such, he said the authorities would prevent trafficked people entering the country at borders, prohibit them from entering inner areas of the country, prevent them from working in entertainment businesses and prevent government officials from being involved in trafficking.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit said provincial governors, as the |top executive of the provincial authority, should push all related officials and agencies to work on the issue.