Continued Cooperation with Local Business Owners to Combat Human Trafficking
Last week Center for Girls held the second training session on human trafficking and CSEC for the local business owners, with almost 60 people in attendance. Recognizing the significant role business owners play in combatting human trafficking and exploitative employment, in these sessions they are awarded with the necessary knowledge and tools to form an engaged network of mindful business owners who stand against exploitation in the workplace.
Thailand is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking. As a border region, Chiang Khong sees a high flow of people entering Thailand to seek work, and whether they do so legally or illegally these people tend to be more susceptible to exploitation. Their temporary status, inadequate understanding of the Thai legal process, language barriers, and willingness to take up work that Thai people do not want means they are easier to exploit. According to the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report published by the U.S. Department of State, these people are directed into various sectors which include agriculture, domestic service and the commercial sex industry. Hence, engaging, educating and empowering local business owners from these different sectors is crucial to guaranteeing that the rights of all people – children and adults, foreign nationals and Thai citizens – are respected and upheld.
The first part of the workshop hosted immigration officers who introduced the issues at hand. Explaining that the most common forms of human trafficking in the area include sex work, begging and forced labour, they presented the laws that must be adhered to, described what is considered a violation, and discussed illegal employment practices that must be avoided.
In the second part of the workshop, the business owners led a group discussion on the creation of a code of conduct which would serve to guide them in their efforts to combat trafficking and CSEC. They began to formulate a formal agreement which delineates their commitment to protecting vulnerable communities, and to working towards ensuring that no one is employed in exploitative working conditions.