As a result, products from these industries exported to markets in USA and certain countries in Europe could be subjected to trade and investment restriction. In addition, aid and assistance from international financial institutions that Thailand has enjoyed may face a cut. These may have an impact on international trade and investments in Thailand.
As a nongovernmental organization which provides legal aid and promotes access to justice amongst migrant workers and human trafficking victims, the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) realizes the importance of the issues and has been collaborating with state agencies and civil society organizations to tackle human trafficking. HRDF and other civil society organizations have proposed and advocated among State and business sectors the adoption of effective policies and measures to solve the problems.
As Thailand has now been downgraded to the Tier 3 by the US government, and in order to strengthen the systems for addressing the problem of human trafficking, HRDF would like to propose the following recommendations to concerned state agencies and other organizations;
1. The state must prioritize an effort to tackle human trafficking as a National Agenda in order to mobilize resources from various sectors to tackle the problem. Action plans for the prevention and suppression of human trafficking and the protection of wellbeing of the victims must be laid down comprehensively with participation from civil society organizations and entrepreneurs in businesses, which can potentially be involved with human trafficking in sea fisheries. All efforts should be streamlined and the action plans should be made with clarity to ensure understanding and effective implementation by each of the agencies involved. It should help to overcome personnel and funding scarcity and promote interdisciplinary work to genuinely address the needs of victims and those affected by human trafficking with a view of empowering the interdisciplinary teams at same time.
2. The state must ensure that workers in sea fishing boats are provided with protection under labour protection laws, such as by registering them as employees, guaranteeing their wages, decent working environment and other benefits as well as access to the compensation fund in case of occupational accidents or health problems. Also, the use of child labour in fisheries industry must be prohibited.
3. The State and associations related to sea fisheries and downstream industry must collaborate to abolish the employment of illegal workers. An emphasis should be placed on punishing employers and entrepreneurs who break the law and concerned State agencies including Ministry of Labour, Harbor Department, Marine Police and Royal Thai Navy, etc. Close collaboration is needed amongst the concerned agencies and entities for effective suppression of corruption.
4. The State must set aside funding to support fisheries industry since it has helped in generating huge income to the country. Such support will enable the industry to use modern technologies, minimize labour intensity, and reduce cost to promote their competitiveness in international markets. The captains and technicians in fishing vessels must receive training and obtain licenses as well as undergo ethical control and other empowerment schemes. Their profiles and the profiles of the vessel owners must be made public so as to help in the suppression of crime and human trafficking and to promote sea fisheries.
5. The enforcement of all legislations must be reviewed to ensure that it can effectively tackle human trafficking including Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act B.E 2551 (2008). Its enforcement must be carried out comprehensively based on the understanding and protection of victims and those affected by human trafficking in different categories. Along with the acceleration of registration of sea fisheries labour, there should an inspection and evaluation system, which involves participation of both state and private sectors to enhance their mutual understanding and collaboration. All implementations must be carried out based on the understanding of the officials and the faithful delivery of their services in order to protect the vulnerable groups and to ensure comprehensive human rights protection.
6. Collaboration among state agencies, private sector and civil society sector should be promoted along with the empowerment of both state officials and staff members of civil society organizations. The collaboration can be made on campaign and advocacy to raise awareness on anti- human trafficking effort and the provision of legal aid to victims and affected persons through the development of network to monitor and suppress human trafficking.
With respect in human rights and human dignity
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
24 June 2014
For more information, please contact
Ms. Nattarat Aroonmaharat, Project Coordinator, Anti-Labour trafficking, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 092 – 6690417
Mr. Papop Siamhan, Case manager, Anti-Labour trafficking, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 094 – 5485306