Thailand hoping for upgrade on fishing forced labor status


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
June 8, 2015

The Thai government is anticipating efforts to crack down on human trafficking, including in the seafood industry, will lead to an upgrade to its country’s status in the next Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report, expected from the U.S. State Department sometime this month.

Despite his optimism, The Nation is reporting Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is cautioning his people to be prepared for anything.

"We cannot force the U.S. State Department to unlock Thailand from the lowly Tier-3. This has happened to many countries, and the period to unlock varies from six months to one year. It's up to them," he told reporters at a recent press conference in Bangkok.

The article also cites an attorney with the Lawyers’ Council of Thailand panel, which is probing the government’s actions regarding human trafficking, who released a list of people accused of taking bribes, including a reporter and Thai police officers.

Last year, the state department downgraded Thailand to Tier 3 in its report, which grades countries worldwide where human trafficking is known to be a problem. Thailand’s designation is the lowest possible grade the department can give. It accused the Thai government of doing nothing to have any demonstrable effect on the problem overall.

Mainstream media reports have put a spotlight on the issue in recent months, most recently in a story by the Associated Press, which tracked fish caught on slave ships to distribution centers that serve many large seafood companies in other countries.

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