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Thailand junta chief threatens to crack down on human trafficking gangs that abuse migrants

Published on Jun 21, 2014 12:49 AM
Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha speaking during a meeting with members of the International Chamber of Commerce at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters in Bangkok on June 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network) - Thailand's Junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday night threatened to crack down on human trafficking gangs who abused migrant workers.

Speaking in his weekly TV programme, General Prayuth said the gangs smuggled in illegal migrant workers to extort money from them and charge them about 20,000 baht (S$770) each in smuggling fees.

Gen Prayuth said the abused migrant workers also had to pay between 8,000 baht to 10,000 baht to influential people in Thailand. He said the junta wanted to regulate the migrant workers so that they would not be taken advantage by smuggling gangs, influential people and employers.

On Friday, the United States State Department downgraded Thailand to Tier 3 in its list of the world centres of human trafficking, the lowest grade, putting it in the same category as North Korea and Syria. The move meant the country faces possible sanctions.