To Better Know a Country: Human Trafficking in Thailand

Every year, the U.S. State Department releases a Trafficking in Persons report which rates countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking. Each week, I’ll be providing a brief glance at human trafficking in one of those countries, based off the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report, with my own (often snarky) analysis added. This is just a snapshot of what’s going on in the country. For more information, you can check out the full text of the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report here.

This Week’s Country….. Thailand

Basic Stats

* Ranking: Tier 2

* Status: Source, transit, and destination country for trafficking victims

* Political Stability: Solid as a rock, just as long as no one tries to end the rampant corruption that holds the system together

* Cash Flow: Best in the region, though tourism and sex tourism are a big part of that

* Do I Think They Care?: It’s hard to turn down the huge influx of Western money that lax prostitution and child protection laws entice, even when it’s the right thing to do.

Who Are the Victims and What Are They Doing?

* Women:commercial sex, forced labor, domestic servitude

* Girls: commercial sex, forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism

* Med: forced labor

* Boys: commercial sex, forced labor in fishing and agriculture, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism

Where Are They Coming From and Where Are They Going?

* Victims are trafficked from Thailand to Taiwan and Bahrain.

* Victims from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam, Russia, and Uzbekistan to Thailand.

* Thai victims are trafficked internally, especially from rural to urban areas.

What’s Gotta Happen

* Investigate labor trafficking as well as sex trafficking.

* Prevent adult victims from being confined to shelters against their will.

* Educate workers, especially migrant workers, on their rights.

What Can I Do

* You can support Baan Kredrakarn, and organization which provides shelter for women and children who have been victims of human trafficking in Thailand.

In summary, the commercial sex industry, both the voluntary and involuntary sectors, is a huge part of Thailand’s growing economy. While the government has taken some important steps and passed some strong legislation to prevent human trafficking, they are fighting an uphill economic battle. Thailand has become a stereotype for human trafficking, but in this case the stereotype is grounded in reality. The Thai government, Thai people, and the rest of the world need to stand together to say and support Thailand’s economic growth through other means.


Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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