Cablegate: Thai Beef Up Implementation of Anti-Human Trafficking Law

DE RUEHBK #3046/01 3361002
P 021002Z DEC 09


Department for GTIP C. Chan-Downer and EAP/MLS D. Smith
Labor for Brandie Sasser


E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Thai Beef Up Implementation of Anti-Human Trafficking Law

BANGKOK 00003046 001.2 OF 003

Sensitive But Unclassified. For Official Use Only.

Ref: 08 BANGKOK 3588

1. (SBU) Summary: Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human
Security (MSDHS) officials detailed for Emboffs on November 20
continuing efforts by the Royal Thai Government (RTG) to combat
human trafficking (TIP). Officials described various prevention and
victim protection activities, including RTG-sponsored working groups
established to focus on areas such as the fishing industries,
fraudulent marriage, and trafficking-related information management
through databases. MSDHS officials confirmed that implementing
regulations under Thailand's 2008 TIP law are in effect, and that
the RTG is still deliberating on how to best operationalize one
aspect of the law regarding the ability for victims to work outside
shelters. The officials also discussed awareness raising activities
that have taken place or are planned throughout Thailand, and would
like to pursue a "substantive" TIP-related agreement with Malaysia.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) Comment: Of the multiple meetings we have held with MSDHS
officials since Thailand's TIP law came into force in June 2008,
this meeting was perhaps our most productive. The RTG TIP-related
committee (and working group) structure, created under Thailand's
new law, appears to have created a forum that fosters increased
interagency communication and action. The officials were therefore
able to speak to RTG efforts beyond those normally handled by their
ministry. We appreciated their candor when discussing challenges to
their anti-trafficking efforts, and that they listened carefully to
our suggestions, both formal and informal. Also noteworthy are
related efforts to bring children resident in Thailand, but without
Thai citizenship, into the social mainstream. End Comment.

3. (SBU) On November 20, Econoff met with officials from the Royal
Thai Government's (RTG) Ministry of Social Development and Human
Security (MSDHS) to discuss RTG anti-human trafficking efforts,
particularly in the areas of prevention and protection. Over a
lengthy afternoon meeting, Dr. Yanee Lertkrai, Deputy Director
General of the Department of Social Development and Welfare; Ms.
Sawanee Khomepatr, Director of the Bureau of Anti-Trafficking in
Women and Children; Ms. Sawareee Chaihan, Advisor of the Bureau of
Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children; Ms. Sunee
Srisangatrakullert, Chief of MSDHS' national anti-trafficking
operations center; and Ms. Jameekorn Pinsuk, International Affairs
Officer spoke with enthusiasm and candor about the efforts. The
officials come from two key offices within MSDHS, one primarily
responsible for victim assistance and shelters and the other
responsible for policy matters and coordination with other RTG
entities. (Note: Sunee will travel to the United States in February
2010 on a human trafficking-related international visitors program.
End Note.)

Implementing Regulations
4. (SBU) According to our counterparts, all subordinate regulations
to Thailand's 2008 human trafficking (TIP) law have been approved
and are in effect (ref A). The regulations, which pertain to
multiple topics under the law:
- establish rules regarding the protection and usage of documents or
information related to TIP offenses,
- establish norms on the registration of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and the assistance they provide during anti-TIP
- establish, and manage the operation of an Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Fund to finance anti-TIP programs (an older TIP fund could
be used for victim assistance but not other activities such as
awareness raising),
- govern the provision of protection for trafficking victims,
- establish rules governing TIP victim assistance, repatriation, and
compensation, and
- define "competent official" to determine which official has
authority to perform certain duties under the law.

Prevention Activities
5. (SBU) The MSDHS officials explained that, using FY 2010
budgetary funds, the Thai government is undertaking a TIP awareness
raising campaign to provide training workshops to youth groups in
throughout Thailand. It also created a short informational
television spot to raise awareness on the problem of human
trafficking specifically in the fishing industry (the spot aired on
Thai television's channel five).

6. (SBU) MSDHS is also planning anti-TIP training sessions
specifically for the "competent officials," as defined by the 2008
TIP law and the relevant subordinate regulation. The Ministry
officials anticipate the training sessions will take place from

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December 2009 to March 2010 and expect at least 1,000 participants.

7. (U) Yanee and Sunee detailed the events organized by the RTG in
2009 to commemorate days regarding human trafficking. On June 5,
MSDHS organized activities to mark the one-year anniversary of
Thailand's comprehensive TIP law. Local media, including the
widely-read newspapers Thai Rath and Siam Rath, covered the main
awareness raising event in Bangkok, attended by approximately 150
officials from governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Select MSDHS provincial-level offices also hosted awareness raising
events in cooperation with NGOs such as World Vision.

8. (U) On June 12, the RTG partnered with the International Labor
Organization (ILO) to commemorate World Day against Child Labor
(WDACL). The related event organized in Bangkok was covered by
various television, print, and radio new outlets. In addition to
the Bangkok event, the RTG and ILO organized events in Tak and
Pattani on June 12 and 18, respectively. At the event in Tak,
attended by approximately 1,500 individuals, Thailand's Vice
Minister of Education Chaiwut Bannawat gave a speech regarding the
RTG's "education-for-all" policy, i.e., for all children including
those of non-Thai migrants and ethnic minority groups resident in

Working Groups and Interagency Activity
9. (SBU) Sunee and her staff explained that the RTG's working group
on human trafficking in the fishing industry has met eight times,
and as recently as November 24. (Note: the working group is under
the auspices of the Coordinating and Monitoring of Anti-Trafficking
in Persons Committee (CMP), chaired by a Deputy Prime Minister, and
consists of government and non-government officials (from both
for-profit companies and non-profit organizations). The CMP reports
to Thailand's Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee (ATP), chaired
by the Prime Minister; ref A. End Note). In doing so, the working
group developed recommendations on how to combat human trafficking
in the fishing sector. The recommendations (on areas such as
improved regulations of boats, possible changes to law and
regulation, and awareness raising activities) require the review of
the two committees.

10. (SBU) Yanee stated that officials from interested Thai
government agencies continue to meet to discuss how to best
implement article 37 of Thailand's anti-human trafficking law that
authorizes, in certain circumstances, the provision of a work permit
to TIP victims so that they may temporarily work in Thailand
(presumably outside shelters). She noted the discussions have
centered on the question of whether the TIP law supersedes
provisions of other relevant laws (i.e., the Immigration Act and
Alien Employment Act), thereby allowing for victims to receive work
permits immediately, or whether changes would need to be made to
these laws prior to the implementation of article 37. Yanee
explained the question will be submitted to the CMP committee for
its decision. She also cautioned that procedures also need to be
developed to allow certain victims to work outside shelters, noting
that such decisions would likely be made on a case by case basis and
take into consideration possible threats to the safety and security
of the victim.

11. (SBU) The Thai government established a working group regarding
fraudulent marriages between Thai women and foreign nationals, due
to its assessment that the area represents an increased risk factor
for human trafficking. It also established a working group to
oversee the creation of linked databases to track information on
groups vulnerable to trafficking, RTG victim assistance, and the
progress of specific trafficking cases. Sunee reported that the
framework for the databases has already been developed and awaits
approval by the CMP. In addition, she explained that the CMP
committee is developing a national Master Plan to combat human
trafficking and will conduct public hearings in four regions (Khon
Kaen, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Bangkok) prior to its finalization.

Cross-border Collaboration
12. (SBU) Yanee explained the RTG is interested in formalizing its
anti-human trafficking cooperative efforts with the government of
Malaysia (GOM) through a memorandum of understanding similar to
those Thailand has with other nations. While noting the RTG's
desire to pursue a "substantive" agreement with Malaysia, she
highlighted two points of concern, from the RTG perspective, in
doing so: the lack of a focal point in the GOM with whom to
coordinate and the lack of a critical mass of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) in Malaysia that the RTG believes would be
necessary for the implementation of a broad "multi-disciplinary"
strategy to combat TIP.

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