Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Thailand Adds Forced Labor to Anti-Trafficking Law

  • Published on
    April 8, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Law & Policy
Hero Banner

Thailand announced revisions its anti-human trafficking law this Sunday, introducing harsher penalties for traffickers and adding “forced labor or service” as a criminal offense.

Under the new amendments, traffickers can be jailed for four years and fined 400,000 Thai baht ($12,516). BBC Thai also reported that the death penalty is the most severe punishment in cases where a victim is killed.

Take Action: Fight Slavery in the Thai Chicken Industry

“It shows the serious intent of the Thai government in tackling forced labor and improving the image of the country,” said Puttanee Kangkun, a human rights specialist with advocacy group Fortify Rights in Bangkok.

“It spells out the conditions, and the penalties are quite strict. But we have to see how effective the implementation is.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

There are about 4.9 million migrants in Thailand, making up more than 10 percent of the country’s workforce, according to the United Nations. Most are from poorer neighboring countries including Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Migrant workers get few protections such as a minimum wage and overtime pay, and contend with unsafe working and living conditions, the U.N. said in a report earlier this year.

Besides the seafood industry, exploitative practices have been recorded in domestic work, construction, agriculture, livestock, hospitality, garment manufacturing and other sectors in the country, it said.

The amendment widens the definition of forced labor and includes anyone engaged in the purchase, sale, confinement or exploitation of a person.

However, some observers say the law is not yet perfect.

Ruttiya Bhula-Or, an assistant professor at Chulalongkorn University, said that while the changes can be implemented immediately, “its inclusion as part of the anti-human trafficking act can also make it less potent, and the definition of forced labor remains unclear.”

Thailand has taken steps to crack down on exploitative recruitment fees paid by migrant workers and last June it became the first country in Asia to ratify the forced labor protocol of the International Labour Organization (ILO).


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

U.N. rights chief urges end to E.U.'s support for Libyan Coast Guard

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has called for an urgent review of the European Union's agreement with Libyan authorities to intercept and return migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Türk highlighted the alarming scale of “trafficking, torture, forced labor, extortion, and starvation” endured by returned migrants and asylum seekers. “It is unconscionable that people in

| Tuesday July 9, 2024

Read more