US Envoy: American action on Thai human trafficking ‘not political issue’


BANGKOK, June 26 — US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney has reiterated that her government’s more negative consideration of human trafficking in Thailand is not a political issue, and does not concern the May 22 military takeover.

Ambassador Kristie Kenney told the Thai News Agency on Thursday that the United States moved Thailand from Tier 2 to Tier 3 on its human trafficking watch list to tell Thailand to be aware of human trafficking problems and that the move had nothing to do with any political issue in Thailand.

She also praised migrant labor regulation by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) as a good policy to tackle human trafficking.

Defence Forces chief and deputy NCPO chief Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn met Ms Kenney earlier and expressed disappointment with the US placing Thailand in Tier 3.

Gen Tanasak insisted that Thailand was seriously moving to resolve the problems of human trafficking, child labour and labour by illegal aliens.

The ambassador said the US would support Thailand in its efforts.

Vichien Chavalit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, said it was difficult to handle human trafficking because Thailand shared borderlines with neighboring countries over a distance of thousands of kilometers.

Thailand was a regional transportation centre, attracted migrant workers with its higher wages, and needed alien labor for some jobs undesirable among Thais including unskilled labor and fishery-related work.