U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Thailand
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Thailand, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d86a23.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
Thailand (Tier 2)
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Thai women are trafficked to Australia, Bahrain, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Europe, and North America for commercial sexual exploitation. A significant number of men, women, and children from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) are economic migrants who wind up in forced or bonded labor and commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Regional economic disparities drive significant illegal migration into Thailand, presenting traffickers opportunities to move victims into labor or sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking also occurs in Thailand, involving victims from Northern Thailand, especially ethnic hill tribe women and girls. Widespread sex tourism in Thailand encourages trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Thailand showed clear progress in applying greater law enforcement efforts to fighting trafficking and systematically screening hundreds of thousands of undocumented illegal migrants to identify and provide care for trafficking victims in their midst. The government also made modest progress in addressing widespread trafficking-related corruption within the ranks of the police, immigration services, and judiciary. In November 2004, the Thai Government began a new, intensified effort to improve the vetting procedure used by the police and immigration authorities to identify trafficking victims. While reports suggest increased efforts by police and immigration officials to provide protection to trafficking victims, international organizations and NGOs continue to play an important role in screening of trafficking victims, especially underage victims found in street work. There are reports that child trafficking victims continued to be incarcerated in and deported from Thailand without proper victim care or any attempt to investigate the trafficking crimes committed against these children.
During the reporting period, the Thai Government increased its law enforcement efforts against trafficking. Thailand has a law specifically prohibiting trafficking. In 2004, the government reported 307 trafficking-related arrests, 66 prosecutions, and 12 convictions – an increase in arrests over the previous year's performance. Sentences handed down for trafficking cases remained light, with an average sentence of three years' imprisonment. However, a number of sentences in trafficking cases were severe, with imprisonment of up to 50 years. In early March 2005, a Thai court convicted a Cambodian woman for trafficking eight Cambodian girls to Thailand and Malaysia; the trafficker was sentenced to 85 years' imprisonment. As in previous years, the Thai Government made minimal progress in reducing trafficking-related corruption in the police, immigration services, and judiciary. Law enforcement officials continued to be implicated in facilitating trafficking, but only one police officer was convicted and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment over the past year; prosecutions of 18 others fired in 2003 for complicity in trafficking continues. Thailand is not able to adequately control its long land borders.
In 2004, the Thai Government continued to provide commendable protection to trafficking victims. The government continued to operate 97 shelters throughout the country for abused women and children, six regional shelters for foreign trafficking victims, and a central shelter outside of Bangkok with capacity for over 500 foreign trafficking victims. The government reportedly identified and provided protection to 108 women and children since the November 2004 institution of the new screening mechanism. Thailand's overseas missions continued to provide support to Thai victims who wish to return home, but limited funding is available to assist their repatriation. The government also provided police and consular officials with training on trafficking issues and dealing with victims.
The Thai Government continued its efforts to raise awareness of trafficking. In 2004, the Thai police began an information campaign, which included the distribution of pamphlets and creation of a hotline for reporting suspected cases. The government also continued to support the work of NGOs and international organizations to carry out public awareness campaigns and provide victim support services.