News / Asia

    Thailand Protests US Trafficking Blacklist

    FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives before a meeting to discuss the 2015 national budget at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
    FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives before a meeting to discuss the 2015 national budget at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
    Thailand has asked the United States to reconsider its placing of the kingdom in the bottom tier of an annual report on human trafficking, a ranking that could potentially prompt sanctions.

    The State Department report, released Friday, demoted Thailand, Malaysia, Gambia and Venezuela to Tier 3, the lowest category, joining such states as Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe.

    Being placed on the Tier 3 blacklist could prompt sanctions or make multinational companies hesitant to invest in a country accused of not sufficiently fighting against trafficked labor.

    American diplomats characterize the Thai government's approach to fighting human trafficking as being full of promises but short on results. The government had “demonstrated few efforts to address these trafficking crimes," the State Department said.

    But Sihasak Phuangketkeow, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the country doesn't deserve the ranking.

    “I do know that Thailand is doing better, much better, than the other countries in that category," Sihasak said. "I'm sure you can vouch for that, also. Does that reflect where Thailand stands? Does that provide the kind of support, encouragement for us to continue doing what we've been doing? So I ask United States whether Thailand should be in that category.”  

    The government, which was taken over by the military in a coup a month ago, will ask Washington to reconsider its assessment of Thailand and re-evaluate the “tangible progress” made in the past year, he said.

    “We don't believe that it is right for one country to use its own yardstick to evaluate what another country is doing or the performance of another country in terms of dealing with this problem," Sihasak said.

    Thailand has faced considerable scrutiny, accused of being what some activists term a hub of human slavery.

    International media investigations over the past year have alleged barbaric conditions for workers sold to Thailand's shrimp fishing fleets.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning articles by the Reuters news agency accused Thailand's navy of being involved in trafficking Rohingya Muslims escaping from persecution in neighboring Myanmar (also known as Burma).

    Journalists and researchers in Thailand who expose such abuses, which also extend to the agriculture sector, for years have faced threats of violence, lawsuits and criminal charges.

    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: supersam from: Atlanta USA
    June 22, 2014 10:45 AM
    I condemn any mistreatment of workers,legal or illegal.Before condemning any country,US government must look in the mirror first.Every one knows that there massive numbers of illegal or we call them undocumented workers.Not all of of them are well and fairly treated.US would be more respected in the world if the govt,quits being a hypocrite !That goes with the criticism of how Thai take care of their protracted grid lock leading to the ruin of their country with military coup.US know darn well that for them,this is only way to get rid of the widespread
    corruption.It is not the best way in the ideal world but please get real.Another election before the reform will forever keep Thailand under the same tyrant.I don't think any American accept the so called democracy when votes could be bought with cash would you?

    by: Mark Olanackaraseyranee
    June 21, 2014 11:49 PM
    These grading, sanction, blacklist are just another tools that the US use for their interest nothing new. Thailand Thaksin and his cronies have be in power for more than 16years and never were downgraded by the US. I not saying that the US should not downgrade Thailand but why now, because the Thai military took over a month ago and the US made it a priority to downgrade, to pressure the military not for real human rights. They should have done it a very long time ago.

    by: A2ZWorldTravLR from: Bangkok
    June 21, 2014 11:44 PM
    Who appointed the United States Government as the World Moral Police? When is the last time USG publicized TIP report on the USA? Has USG taken over from international organisations such as IOM, UN, non-governmental human rights organzations, and so on? Which bureaucrat came up with the obfuscatory term "human trafficking" that robs the nefarious activities like slavery, exploitation, forced prostitution and so on of their meaning?

    by: eshita Chakrabarti from: Boston Ma USA
    June 21, 2014 5:35 PM
    Thailand and those countries with high human trafficking should have sanctions if they cannot take action so that these countries can benefit out of tourism. Imagine the plight of the trafficked individual, slavery to its worst form with disease and no money to recover.
    No one should even consider to negotiate , they are not worth it.
    World has to take action and by action I mean real action.
    In Response

    by: Jeff from: Samut Prakan
    June 22, 2014 3:30 AM
    I agree 'Eshita'. I also believe Thailand should be sanctioned as they clearly have not done enough if they were placed in this level of the ranking system. It is well known that this country is plagued by corruption, human rights violations, human trafficking, beatings, and as well as intimidation and threats of violence. What makes them think they are (or should be) exempt from the ranking they received?
    * (Hey! I used to live outside of Boston for a good part of my life Eshita but now live in Thailand hehe:)

    by: Gregory from: Chiang Mai
    June 21, 2014 5:22 PM
    Thailand continues to be a THUG --- they threaten anyone who reports their continued slavery of workers. There are pay offs across the spectrum from individuals, police, police senior officers, military, naval executives! They are going to attempt to blackmail the US to back off but they know they are so guilty! I know --- the corruption exists today even at the street level --- Thailand's Tea Money@@@
    In Response

    by: Jeff from: Samut Prakan
    June 22, 2014 3:49 AM
    @ 'Chai Putha'; While you may be correct in that yes, unfortunately we have had a small handful of murders at schools in the past, you clearly don't know that much about the U.S since you think that our soldiers "kill people in other countries". Where did you get that info from? It's called assisting other nations in a time of need. When countries are in trouble and facing crises, we like to help out fellow human beings. Besides, I wouldn't call America out when it comes to 'morals'. That is something I see a rather frequent lack of from the people in Thailand.
    In Response

    by: Jeff from: Samut Prakan
    June 22, 2014 3:34 AM
    You could NOT be more correct Greg. Yes, the people's way of dealing with things they don't want revealed here in Thailand is usually very thuggish and yes, they most certainly take to intimidation and threats when they know they could get into trouble. Only guilty people take to those kinds of tactics and Thailand is in fact a very corrupt country.
    In Response

    by: Chai Putha from: Thailand
    June 21, 2014 11:23 PM
    Thailand never have gun fire to pupils in schools as America has.
    Thailand never send soldiers to kill anybody in other countries.
    Why the other countries do not call for morals of American ?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora