Despite claims by the Thai military government that it had taken sufficient steps to have the country removed from the United States ‘Tier 3’ list of worst offenders in the world for human trafficking – the country has done absolutely nothing to improve its reputation in the fishing industry, it was claimed today.

The Environmental Justice Foundation in London has published a scathing report indicating that not only had the authorities done nothing; but worse than that they had arrested foreigners for human rights abuses while ignoring the offenders on their doorstep.

The EJF report ‘Broken Promises: Why Thailand should stay on Tier 3 in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report’ lists a number of abuses over the last 12 months in Thailand’s fishing industry.

And the EJF “consistently found that the Thai Government’s anti-trafficking efforts have been characterised by failure to improve victim identification, shockingly inadequate victim protection and support, weak enforcement and endemic corruption.”

The government had failed to:

“Since 2014, trafficking victims have reported abuse, even in Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) shelters designated to offer protection to victims. 

“Reports of assault, threats at gunpoint and beatings by shelter staff leading to severe injuries, have been recorded (EJF interviews with trafficking victims and Myanmar government officials, 2014). Corruption still seriously undermines Thailand’s efforts to combat trafficking, while Thailand’s Prime Minister and other senior Ministers have publicly acknowledged the involvement of state officials in trafficking into the fishing industry,” said

All of this is of course totally contrary to a statement made by Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Minister of Thailand’s Foreign Affairs, last month claiming that substantial progress has been made, especially regarding anti-trafficking legislation, inspections of fishing vessels and the registration of migrant workers.

In fact the EJF points out that the Thai government gave absolutely no more financial resources so that boats could be inspected.

So who is telling the truth? The Thai Government of EJF, Natural Fruit or Finnwatch and Andy Hall? The Royal Thai Navy or Reuters and Phuketwan?

The full EJF report is here


  1. Talking about human rights, a living wage, health care, social security or asking the rich to stop exploiting the poor will be met with open mouthed indignation in Thailand. Many of these large food conglomerates are owned by Chinese/Thais who will often tell stories of their forefathers arriving as penniless migrants from China. You would think they would have some empathy and compassion for the poor and take action to uplift instead of exploit them. It's really pathetic when you see some of these people buying soccer teams for billions or blowing millions at overseas casinos whilst pretending to know nothing of the exploitation taking place in their companies.

    This slavery and bonded labour are not confined to the fishing industry. Hundreds of young girls from the North are trafficked to brothels in the south. Many poorer Thais do work in factories processing seafood getting paid slave wages as well. The owners live like Emperors from feudal China but expect their workers to do 12 hours shifts for a few hundred baht. Many locals won't work for those low wages anymore so the bosses just ship in slaves from Burma. They get treated even worse.

    A lot of Government jobs are priced with Thai labour quotes then have Burmese shipped in to do all the lackey work for peanuts. The extra profit goes straight into the pockets of the greedy officials and police paid to turn a blind eye to the Burmese. I remember one reporter asking about this in Phuket, he was quickly run out of town. In the South many beach bars, restaurants, resorts as well as factories have Burmese working for them. They do all the shit kicking work for less than the legal daily wage but no official ever sees this of course. The police never see the truck loads of Rohingya either.

  2. "The police never see the truck loads of Rohingya either."

    Oh.. they see them alright Tommy, $trictly as a mean$ to an end, to top up a few rice pot$ in high, and low places….

  3. This military government is just as corrupt as any before it. Anyone who believes that this lot have any intention to tackle corruption forget who allowed them in. The very perpetrators of Thailands long history of corruption and slavery are the backers of this repressive regime. So this report is no surprise.

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