Thai Human Rights Record Under Microscope

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BANGKOK, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Thailand needs to do more to address demands for exploitative labor, a root cause of human trafficking, a U.N. official said after a visit.

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the U.N. special envoy on human trafficking, has concluded a visit to Thailand to examine the country’s human rights record.

Reports indicate that while the practice is declining because of improved economic conditions, many women in poor Thailand communities are trafficked domestically for sexual exploitation.

Ezeilo testified from Bangkok that the number of people trafficked for forced labor in the agriculture, construction and fishing industries is growing in scale.

“Thailand faces significant challenges as a source, transit and destination country,” she said in a statement.

She added that law enforcement mechanisms in place in the country were “weak,” noting the underlying reasons for a market for trafficked people remain neglected.

“Root causes of trafficking, particularly demands for cheap and exploitative labor provided by migrant workers, are not being effectively addressed,” Ezeilo said.

Human Rights Watch, in a lengthy appeal to the new Thai government, laid out a long list of desired reforms ranging from accountability for political violence and support rights for migrant workers.

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