Tuesday, June 17, 2008

National Anti-Human Trafficking Day in Thailand

From the Bangkok Post:

There were no banner-waving social militants on the march or high-profile campaign launches. Nothing, in fact, to make the first Thursday of this month stand out as a special day. The only clue lay in the show of diligence by police busily checking the ID cards of youthful passengers on long-distance trains. That was how the country marked its first-ever National Anti-Human Trafficking Day.

This date, June 5, was when our tough new law to combat traffickers came into effect and extended its protection to all those in danger of becoming victims of prostitution, pornography, sexual abuse, forced labour or the trade in human organs. It increases the punishment meted out to traffickers, spares victims from prosecution and conceals their identities. It also spares high-ranking police officers from having to obtain search warrants when actively in pursuit of suspected human traffickers and while rescuing their victims.

There are other provisions too, but the new law will only be of value if police actually enforce it. Too often in the past they have shown little inclination to get involved and Thailand has had to suffer the shame of being branded an international human trafficking hub as a result. Lax attitudes have to change before anything else will. This means breaking up cosy working relationships between the corrupt influential figures behind the trafficking and their equally corrupt state counterparts and throwing both in jail. It is not an exaggeration to say that the world is watching and there will be further damage to our reputation if complacency sets in.

Read the full article

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