Sunday, July 10, 2005
Bangkok, June 28, 2005 ? Every year thousands of people,
primarily women and children, are trafficked within and
across borders and forced to work in the sex industry,
in sweat shops, and in other exploitative situations.
Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a crime that is
difficult to measure due to inconsistent recording,
inadequate definitions, and lack of shared cross-border
resources. To combat this urgent human rights crisis in
Asia, The Asia Foundation, today, launched
TIPinAsia.info ? the first Asia-wide, multi-lingual web
portal that will facilitate more effective regional and
cross-border collaboration to prevent trafficking,
protect victims and bring traffickers to justice.
TIPinAsia.info (www.tipinasia.info) is the first
anti-trafficking online tool written in both English and
local languages, eradicating a once debilitating
communications barrier that impeded coordination between
governmental and non-governmental counter-trafficking
organizations in Asia. The web portal is now officially
in use in Thailand, Cambodia, and East Timor. Content
in local language from seven additional countries will
be added this year.
?New patterns of human trafficking are emerging right
now, and we must learn how to combat these new, horrific
practices,? said Mr. Sombat Boon-Ngamanong, director of
the Mirror Art Foundation, an advocacy NGO based in
Chiang Rai. ?TIPinAsia.info is a phenomenon, a critical
united front to support a network of anti-human
trafficking organizations, for sharing information on
news, laws or regulations.?
?This local language website will facilitate
coordination among Thais and Cambodians who work
directly with human trafficking victims,? said Lisa
Rende Taylor, The Asia Foundation?s Regional
Anti-Trafficking Coordinator based in Bangkok. ?In
Thailand and Cambodia, most local counter-trafficking
service providers, police, and government officials read
Thai or Khmer, not English.?
Whether lured with promises of jobs or marriage, or
abducted by or sold to traffickers, trafficking victims
are held in exploitative, coercive, and often abusive
work situations, and are denied their basic human
rights. TIPinAsia.info provides critical information
for both trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking
workers, such as contact information for victim service
providers, case studies, research and reports, and
current legal codes.
One case :
On April 17, 2002, Mr. Korn (assumed name) left
Ubonratchathani province with his younger brother to
look for employment in Bangkok. They first called at
their aunt's house in Samutprakan Province, where they
stayed for 2 days. On April 19, 2002, around 7.30 a.m.,
they read a job notice posted in front of a auto repair
garage. As it was very early, they decided to sit down
and wait for the garage to open. As they were waiting,
however, a man came over to talk to them. He spoke
nicely and persuaded them to consider work on a fishing
boat. The man, an agent, explained that the work was
not very difficult or dangerous; nevertheless, the pay
was good. Korn and his brother decided to go with the
agent to meet the owner of the boat. About 5 p.m. that
day Korn, his brother and six other men boarded a boat
headed for southern Songkhla Province.
After their arrival in Songkhla the next morning at 9
a.m., the boat owner allowed them to rest and have a
meal. At 1 p.m. he took the group to a harbor, where
Korn noticed the owner engaged in a quiet discussion
with a woman. After their conversation was completed,
Korn and several of the other men were urged to get into
one boat while his brother and the rest of the group
were placed aboard another boat. After they had boarded
the boat they learned that they had all been sold for
6,000 Baht (US$ 150) each. Korn headed for Songkhla
harbor while his brother was taken to Pattani harbor.
Korn found there were many illegal Burmese as well as
Thai workers on the boat. The Thais mostly came from
the north and north-eastern Thailand. All had been
duped into taking the fishing job. There also were many
old men working as cooks. Everyone was forced to do
different jobs and they were not allowed to help each
other. They did not dare let the leader know that they
were sick, otherwise they would be killed by a single
gun shoot or be thrown into the sea. They worked almost
24 hours a day. Although they received short breaks,
soon the leader would whistle at them to get back to
work. They were allowed to have only one meal a day and
they were prohibited from bathing, brushing their teeth
or changing their cloths, although some workers
occasionally smuggled some ice to wash their faces.
None of the workers was every paid.
The boat Korn worked on was an illegal vessel used for
fishing, as well as for transferring illegal workers,
some of whom were migrating willingly, while others had
been deceived. This illegal boat usually would float
out in the middle of the sea, where it would wait for
other boats to come by every 3 days to off-load the
fish, deliver ice and cast aboard another new group of
men deceived into the fishing trade.
Korn met two boys, both aged 12, on the boat. They came
from Srisakat Province and they had been deceived by an
agent at the Hua Lampong Railway Station in Bangkok.
The agent offered them many job opportunities such as
working on a boat, in a frozen food factory or at a
bakery. The boys agreed they wanted to work at the
bakery; nevertheless, in the end they found themselves
aboard the illegal fishing boat and the agent kept all
of their important papers.
Korn eventually escaped from the boat after working
without pay for 2 years.
Click the title to access TipInAsia