Thailand, Myanmar fight human trafficking
CHIANG RAI: -- Thailand and Myanmar's joint effort to tackle human-trafficking is continuing with Yangon establishing more anti-human trafficking centres along border towns such as Myawaddy and Koh Song.
However, the human-trafficking situation in Thailand continues to worsen, with more young people becoming victims.
Despite the implementation of the 2008 Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, Thailand was included in the United States' "Tier 2 Watch List" in 2010 and 2011, with the human-trafficking situation getting particularly severe in the North.
The crime of human-trafficking has evolved in different ways, including forcing women to become surrogate mothers, luring them into hard labour or prostitution abroad via marriage to foreigners and luring men to become forced labourers on fishing boats. The victims now include women and children from Uzbekistan and Vietnam as well as minorities from mainland China.
Police Captain Yin Yin Aye, chief of the Thai-Myanmar border coordination centre against human trafficking in Tachilek Township, said the centre, which was built in 2006, has dealt with 11 major cases. She said most of the victims were women, and the centre had rescued and rehabilitated them before returning them to their families and helped with investigation into the cases. She said Myanmar was building more centres in border towns, including Myawaddy and Koh Song.
Cooperation in running anti-human trafficking centres continues on both sides of the border, with Thailand having set one up in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.
Mae Sai immigration police inspector Pat Pantanapon said Chiang Rai was known as the "starting point" for trans-national human-trafficking gangs to lure people, especially minorities and people from neighbouring countries, into prostitution and other exploitative trades. Hence, he said, the two countries have joined forces to tackle the problem.
Social Development and Human Security permanent secretary Wichien Chawalit said his office had also carried out many measures to control human trafficking. He also urged members of the public to participate by keeping an eye out and providing information via the 1300 24-hour hotline.
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) inspector of the anti-human trafficking centre, Pol Major Jatuporn Arunreukthawil said his office would take up cases that were more complicated, tied up with other countries or cases handed over to them by others. He said cases within the human-trafficking frame included gangs smuggling workers over the border, luring women into prostitution, forcing women to become surrogate mothers and buying children from their parents and forcing them to beg on the street. He revealed that some children refused to return home as their parents had sold them off so many times.
Saying that human-trafficking cases in the upper North had been rising every year, manager of the Foundation of Child Understanding, Duan Wongsa, said Thai children became victim to prostitution gangs at the age of 13 to 18, but these cases received less attention that those involving foreigners.
The comments and information were presented at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry's workshop attended by 50 media members on May 18-19 in Chiang Rai.
-- The Nation 2012-06-15
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