Government and private agencies has jointly established Songkhla Fishermen's Life Enhancement Centre (FLEC) - Thailand's first showcase in countering against human trafficking and illegal labour once and for all. The centre will be taking care of some 25,000 foreign workers in Songkhla and the nearby provinces. Theerapat Prayunrasiddhi, permanent secretary for agriculture and cooperatives said recently the Thai government puts high priority and seriously tackling against illegal labour and human trafficking in fishery sector through cooperations between public and private sector for example CPF. At the same time, uplifting of foreign workers quality of life in line with the principle of humanity and on par with international standards has to be materialized and implementable. The project is part of an attempt to protect workers whether they are legal or illegal to be righteously and fairly treated. Suchat Junthalukana, manager of FLEC and Stella Maris Seafarers Center Songkhla, said the centre is devised to develop effective mechanisms in working against human trafficking in the local and provincial level. It will also serve as a mean to improve livelihood and create employment opportunities indiscriminately for fishery workers of all nationality including Thai, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos in Songkhla's Muang and the nearby areas. The assistance will extend to 25,000 people, including the young and those who are liable to be trapped into human trafficking in Songkhla fishery port and its proximity. "Songkhla Fishery Welfare and Good Governance Centre is initiated to improve quality of life of fishery workers and their families through to those illegal workers who seek legal assistance. The centre will advise and educate them on issues related to labour protection, provide them humanitarian assistance and raise aware on anti-human trafficking", said Mr. Suchat. Space in the centre is allocated for classrooms for foreign children, prayer room, infirmary, multi-purpose hall including coordination office, meeting room and library. Wuthichai Sithipreedanant, CPF Senior Vice President in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Development, noted that CPF realizes the importance of the labour issues which could tarnish the country image. The establishment of the Centre through private and public sector partnership will solve the problems at their roots by creating awareness, setting the record straight through mutual responsibility of concerned stakeholders and taking into account basic human right. The effort will uplift the well-being of fishery workforces and their families. CPF will provide financial support to assist the centre. If it accomplishes the goals, there will be further discussions to support concerned stakeholders.
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