Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand,Vietnam

Thailand seeks harsh punishment for human traffickers

www.chinaview.cn 2004-05-14 13:26:01

BANGKOK, May 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Thai Deputy Prime Minister PurachaiPiumsombun has pledged to punish human traffickers in a tough way as that for drug dealers, the Bangkok Post reported on Friday.

 The government was preparing to stiffen enforcement of the Asset Seizure Law against human traffickers so they would face similar treatment to drug smugglers after their convictions, Purachai said Thursday when chairing an anti-human trafficking workshop in the northern province of Chiang Rai. 

The anti-money laundering law, which allows seizure of assetssuspected of having been acquired illegally, must be swift to cut the bloodline of trafficking networks, he was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying. 

He asked for close border patrol around the border pass areas, including the kingdom's northern and north-eastern border provinces, which were at high risk of illegal entry.

 More than 10 human trafficking rings were thought to be based near the border channels in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province alone, the report said.At the same time, Purachai urged for law enforcement officials totreat alien victims of human trafficking with "compassion and empathy."

 The Thai government would trace human trafficking network in collaboration with neighboring countries and a memorandum of understanding on this aspect would be signed with those countries, Purachai said. Thailand has been the source, destination and transmission center for human trafficking in the Mekong river sub-region for a long time, said the non-government organization ECPAT, which triesto put an end to child prostitution and trafficking of children. ECPAT said that many Thai children have been trafficked to Japan, Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and Cambodia. 

An earlier International Labor Organization's report estimated that around 200,000 to 300,000 women and children are trafficked annually into Thailand for prostitution.