BANGKOK, July 3 (Bernama): The US State Department has downgraded Thailand to Tier 2 Watch List in its annual report on human trafficking released that was released this week.
However, Thailand is disappointed with the downgrade in the 2021 Trafficking in Person Report (2021 TIP Report) as it did not reflect fairly the significant efforts and concrete progress Thailand has made in combating human trafficking.
The 2021 TIP Report found a high number of trafficking victims were subjected to forced sex trafficking and labour in the fishing and agriculture industry.
It said Thai government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.
It added that the government initiated significantly fewer trafficking investigations, prosecuted fewer suspects and convicted fewer traffickers than in 2019.
"Corruption and official complicity continued to impede anti-trafficking efforts, and the government convicted five complicit officials in 2020. Therefore, Thailand is downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List, ” the report said.
In a statement, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said the TIP Report, after all, unilaterally makes an evaluation from the US very own point of view and by no means represents any international standard.
It said the Thai government has taken several measures in protecting and preventing Thai citizens and foreign nationals in the kingdom from falling victims to human trafficking.
Citing an example, it said migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar were granted extended period of stay in Thailand until 31 March 2022 as a part of the Covid-19 pandemic measures.
"All measures taken by Thailand are meant for the betterment of the Thai society, raising our standards in protecting and preventing Thai citizens and foreign nationals in Thailand, including migrant workers, from falling victims to human trafficking
"Thailand stands ready to enhance cooperation with various partners in a constructive manner, both domestically and internationally, with a view to ultimately eradicating the scourge of human trafficking and forced labour in all forms, ” it said. - Bernama