Thailand Downgraded on US Human Trafficking List

THE NATION – Thailand was yesterday downgraded to the lowest level in the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report – a move that could trigger sanctions by the United States.

After years of warnings, the US named and shamed Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela, dumping them at the bottom of a list of countries accused of failing to tackle modern-day slavery, AFP reported from Washington.

Thailand had been on Tier 2 watchlist for four years for poor law enforcement before it dropped to the lowest rung – Tier 3.

The three countries, plus Gambia, found themselves added to a nations such as Iran, North Korea and Syria, which have already been languishing on the lowest tier of the State Department’s annual report into human trafficking.

“We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common,” US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in the 2014 TIP report, denouncing what he called “the evil of human trafficking”.

Tens of thousands of the world’s trafficking victims end up in Thailand as migrants from neighbouring countries “who are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labour or exploited in the sex trade”, the report said. The TIP survey was carried out before the military coup.

“Anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remained insufficient compared with the size of the problem in Thailand, and corruption at all levels hampered the success of these efforts,” the report said.

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