Thailand has signed a treaty that will bind it to taking measures to combat human trafficking, the latest step the country has taken following several independent media reports showed widespread labor and human rights abuses rampant in its seafood industry.
Thailand ratified the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) on 24 July, 2016, becoming the third Asian nation to ratify the convention, which was created in 2015 as a means to strengthen regional cooperation against human trafficking in Asia. The convention requires six ASEAN member states to ratify it in order to go into effect.
The convention’s aims include: preventing and combating trafficking in persons, protecting and assisting victims and promoting regional cooperation to eliminate trafficking persons, especially women and children. The convention will work in concert with the ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (APA), which took effect on 21 November, 2015.
“The ratification of the convention affirms Thailand’s continued commitment to combating human trafficking and is consistent with the government’s policy which declared fighting human trafficking as a national agenda,” the Thai press release said. “It also underscores the government’s commitment to cooperate with ASEAN member states to jointly combat this crime.”
Thailand’s ratification of the convention is the latest legal step the country has taken in fighting illegal activity in its seafood sector. In January 2016, it signed a memorandum of understanding with major players in its industry to elimited forced labor within the seafood supply chain and in May, it acceded to the Port State Measures Agreement, an international accord designed to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU fishing).