BANGKOK, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Thailand faces a rise in human trafficking, a United Nations expert said, urging the country to fight the corruption blamed for the problem.
Joy Ezeilo, speaking in Bangkok at the end of a 12-day trip, said she found that “internal trafficking in children is rampant” and that migrant, stateless and refugee children are most vulnerable.
“Root causes of trafficking, particularly demands for cheap and exploitative labor provided by migrant workers, are not being effectively addressed,” she said.
Ezelio said Thailand needs to protect migrant workers who increasingly are becoming vulnerable to forced and exploitative labor.
“Thailand faces significant challenges as a source, transit and destination country,” said Ezeilo, while calling on the government to promote a zero-tolerance stance against corruption.
Ezeilo, who works in an unpaid capacity and reports to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, said the trend of trafficking of forced labor is growing in the “agricultural, construction and fishing industries,” U.N. News reported.
Ezeilo praised the enactment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 in compliance with international standards, but said implementation and enforcement remains “weak and fragmented,” hampered by corruption, especially among low-level law enforcement officers at provincial and local levels.
The Bangkok Nation reported Tuesday that many people from neighboring nations pay smugglers to come to Thailand in search of a better life but are not aware of the risks of human trafficking.
The report said many of those migrants end up as slaves in brothels and factories, or on fishing boats.