On May 3, 2023, the Permanent Secretary of Labour, Mr. Boonchob Suttamanaswong, assigned the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Labour, Mr. Wannarat Srisuksai, to attend the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on reducing labour vulnerability to human trafficking. Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister, Police Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Thammasak Witcharaya, presided as a witness. Dr. Steven G. Olive, the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Asia Office, Mr. Bancha Sukkaew, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Fisheries acting for the Director-General of the Department of Fisheries, and Mrs. Meghan MacBain, Director of the Thailand Anti-Trafficking Program in Persons supported by the USAID Thailand Counter Trafficking in Persons project, run by Winrock International in Thailand, also attended. The occasion took place at Anantara Siam Hotel, Ratchadamri Road, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Thammasak said that on June 9, 2022, at the Ministry of Labour, he was the chairman of the Subcommittee for Sustainable Efficiency in Tackling Human Trafficking. He attended a network meeting on labour cooperation and protection checks for migrant workers in the fishing sector with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and WinRock International in Thailand. The meeting then led to preparing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Labour, the Department of Fisheries, and the Winrock Organization. The objective is to share and share the projects and innovations of USAID and WinRock.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Thammasak thanked the Ministry of Labour, the Department of Fisheries, and relevant agencies involved in drafting the MOU. Most importantly, he thanked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Winrock International in Thailand, who, together with the government, pushed for the Memorandum of Understanding, making it the origin of the signing ceremony today. The Ministry of Labour is the main and lead agency in the fight against human trafficking, taking on the primary responsibility of Thailand’s anti-trafficking efforts. This important government policy has been set up as a national agenda to raise protection standards and prevent Thai and migrant workers from becoming victims of human trafficking. The Department of Fisheries is another important agency. A series of operations for screening migrant workers in the sea fishing sector has already been established following the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to screen vulnerable workers in 22 coastal provinces of Thailand. He asked all sectors to join forces as Team Thailand to drive the fight against human trafficking to eliminate forced labour and human trafficking in Thailand and continue to become ranked in the Trafficking in Persons Report as Tier 1.
The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on reducing the vulnerability of workers to human trafficking aims to improve the ability to communicate and request assistance to workers working on fishing boats to install add-ons to the fishing vessel monitoring system (VMS) via a mobile phone application using satellite signals instead of normal phone signals. This will enable operators to request assistance in fishing areas where cell phone signals cannot be reached. It also aims to expand cooperation in relevant areas besides the Connectivity at Sea project to reduce labour vulnerability to human trafficking.