By The Nation
The TIP 2018 report, launched by the US State Department on Thursday local time in Washington, said the Thailand government had demonstrated increased efforts to address slavery and human-trafficking.
The report cited increased prosecutions and convictions of traffickers and a decrease in prosecution time for trafficking cases through the use of specialised anti-trafficking law enforcement divisions.
It noted that authorities had also increased the number of investigations of suspected official complicity in trafficking crimes and had convicted 12 complicit officials in 2017, including 11 officials involved in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants
Following the military coup in 2014, Thailand was downgraded for two consecutive years to the lowest tier for its failure to meet the US minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, notably of the Rohingya minority who fled from violence and discrimination in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The military government’s increased efforts yielded a positive result in 2016 and 2017 when senior military officers were prosecuted for their involvement in syndicated trafficking.
Thailand’s promotion to Tier 2 reflects US recognition of serious and sustained efforts by the Thai government to address previous shortcomings as well as significant progress in combatting all forms of human trafficking during the past year, according to a Thai Foreign Ministry statement responding to the new status.
“Thailand remains deeply engaged in strengthening cooperation and partnership with all stakeholders in a whole-of-society approach, and will continue to work closely with concerned international organisations and various countries, including the US, in our ongoing attempt to end trafficking in persons,” it said.