US Urges Thailand to Stamp Out Myanmar Forced Labour Practices
Thailand has again been sharply criticised and given a low human rights compliance ranking by the United States’ State Department.
The department’s annual human trafficking report said forced labor, especially involving migrants from Myanmar, remains prevalent in Thailand’s fishing and fish related industries.
“The prosecution of journalists and advocates for exposing traffickers, and statements discouraging media reporting on trafficking crimes undermined some efforts to identify and assist victims and apprehend traffickers,” the State Department’s annual report said.
Thailand is estimated to have between 3 and 4 million migrant workers. Many are illegal entrants with no protection from exploitation and a country with a labor shortage.
“Unfortunately, the changes [Thailand] has made so far are largely cosmetic,” said Abby McGill, campaigns director for the International Labor Rights Forum.
“We hope this [State Department ranking] decision will underscore the urgent need to reform immigration and labor laws so they uphold the human rights of migrant workers, one of the populations in Thailand most vulnerable to human trafficking.”
The European Union in April gave the Thai government six months to improve its migrant labor market or face sanctions.