Last Friday, the US State Department released its 2014 Global Trafficking in Persons Report—an annual report that documents human trafficking around the world and each country’s efforts to combat the issue. In this report, State downgraded Thailand to Tier 3, demonstrating that the Thai government is not compliant with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, particularly with regard to its treatment of migrant workers. This is especially evident in the fishing sector.
In fact, there are an estimated 3-4 million migrant workers in Thailand. The majority of them, 80 percent, came from Myanmar and work in the most dangerous, dirty jobs, including seafood harvesting and processing, manufacturing, and domestic work.
This decision came after Green America and our allies sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to make this decision so that economic sanctions could be imposed to influence the Thai government’s efforts in preventing human trafficking.
While it’s not good news that Thailand has fallen to Tier 3 status, we hope that this decision will lead to urgent action in Thailand to improve the situation for migrant workers.
In the last year, reports from, CNN, BBC, Reuters, The Associated Press and The Guardian have drawn unprecedented attention to the issue and consumer pressure campaigns have also launched to push companies to be accountable as well.
We believe the Tier 3 ranking, as well as the research and recommendations contained in the report, will be an important informational tool for international and Thai institutions, companies and investors that continue to press Thai authorities to move beyond their current approach. Its our hope that by next year Thailand can be revoked of its Tier 3 status.