Thailand should be liable to potential US sanctions for failing to crack down on trafficking in migrant workers, a group of human rights and labor organizations has said, reported Reuters.
In a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, 19 organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the American Federation of Labor, said Thailand “does not meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, nor is it taking real steps to meet those standards.”
As such, Thailand, although an important US ally, should be downgraded to Tier III of the State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, the letter said.
Such a downgrade would make Thailand liable to sanctions, which could include the withholding or withdrawal of US non-humanitarian and non-trade-related assistance.
It would also mean that Thailand could face US opposition to assistance from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The letter to Kerry noted that Thailand had been placed on the Tier II watch list in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, which cited “pervasive trafficking-related corruption and weak interagency coordination” that “continued to impede progress in combating trafficking.”
“Nothing about this system has changed significantly in the course of the last year, and the government continues to be at best complacent, at worst complicit, in the trafficking of migrant workers from neighboring countries to provide inexpensive labor for export industries,” the letter said.