Thailand’s Ministry of Labor is working to revise Thailand’s labor laws to give international importers a means to ensure that products they buy, including seafood, are made without child labor, forced labor, or human trafficking, said the ministry’s permanent secretary according to Thailand Today.
Thailand Today reported that Puntarik Smiti, the Ministry of Labor’s deputy permanent secretary, said the U.S. downgraded Thailand in its Trafficking in Persons Report primarily due to the alleged abuses in Thailand’s shrimp and seafood industry.
A Ministry of Labor press release reported that Thailand disagreed with the downgrade “despite the fact that Thailand has made significant progress in many areas in combating trafficking in persons.” Regardless, the Ministry and other government offices, including the Fisheries and Marine departments, are currently amending laws related to trawler registration and foreign employee registration, Smiti said according to Thailand Today.
Thailand Today reports that some new enforcement steps have been initiated as well, including the creation of seven fishing labor coordination offices to help employers hire laborers without “knowingly or unknowingly dealing with traffickers.”
Additionally, the National Council for Peace and Order has taken steps to regulate migrant workers by establishing One Stop Service Centers for employer registration of migrant workers. NCPO chairman General Prayut Chan-o-cha released a statement that fishing boat owners have registered 53, 260 migrant workers so far.
According to Thailand employment attorneys at Chaninat and Leeds, foreign workers on fishing boats are required to have a work permit to legally work in Thailand, and legal foreign workers in Thailand have the same rights under Thai labor law as all other legal workers in Thailand.
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