World Vision Foundation of Thailand is working with Winrock International and USAID to counter trafficking in persons in Chiang Rai.

Trafficking in persons is a national agenda in Thailand, with Thailand recently moving up from Tier 2 watch-list, to Tier 2 ranking on the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report. World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) is a development, humanitarian and advocacy organisation focusing on the development of the well-being of vulnerable children, families, and communities, having worked on various counter trafficking in persons initiatives since the year 2000. As part of this commitment to end trafficking in persons, World Vision Foundation of Thailand recently launched a new project in Chiang Rai, under the USAID Thailand Counter Trafficking In Persons Project (USAID Thailand CTIP) under Winrock International and supported by USAID.

The meeting was held by World Vision Foundation of Thailand to provide an overview of the USAID Thailand CTIP Project in Chiang Rai, aiming to inform and seek collaboration from relevant authorities, civil society organisations, and partners from the three target provinces; Chiang Rai, Tak and Sa Kaeo. The event sought feedback from partner organisations in order to work collaboratively to reduce trafficking in persons and ensure that protection systems for trafficked persons are strengthened.

“During the first phase, we focused on capacity building of local authorities and civil society organisations on victim-centred approaches to victim identification, referral and victim assistance. Multidisciplinary teams in the target provinces improved their capacity in victim identification and migrant workers participated in strengthening labour protection systems. In the next phase, we are focusing on three main areas, localisation of the Greater Mekong Sub-region transnational referral mechanism (TRM), supporting the rollout of Thailand’s new National Referral Mechanism (NRM), and enforcement of Thailand’s ‘forced labour amendment’ to the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act,” says Mr. Harley Hamilton, Grant Acquisition and Management Division Manager, World Vision Foundation of Thailand.

Mr. Saphasakon Songsukkai, USAID Thailand CTIP Project Manager, World Vision Foundation of Thailand, shares that the organisation ran the project’s first phase from 2018 – 2021. The four-year second phase, from 2023 – 2026, is funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under Winrock International. World Vision Foundation of Thailand has followed the National Strategic Plan by supporting and collaborating with the public sector and civil society networks in driving and addressing human trafficking in the three provinces where the project will be implemented. This will be done to reach the project’s goals reducing trafficking in persons in Thailand and protecting the rights of trafficked people.

“We focus on network building in the second phase to support transnational referral processes. The challenges we have faced are the discrepancies between legislation and legal statutes between Thailand and its neighbours, which leads to obstacles in cross-border collaboration. World Vision Foundation of Thailand facilitates conventions, training, and seminars to equip practitioners to protect potential victims of trafficking, even in light of the various limitations that they face,” adds Mr. Songsukkai.

Miss Phornnapha Samreerat, Director of Chiang Rai Welfare Protection Center for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, shares that Chiang Rai is a key destination of human trafficking due to various enabling factors, including the demand for cheap labour, tourists’ demand for sex services, convenient cross-border transportation, a diversity of ethnic groups, and the need to generate income for migrant workers themselves. The support of World Vision Foundation of Thailand and other NGOs in Chiang Rai has contributed to the gradual improvement of the situation thanks to the continued problem-solving efforts of government and civil society organisations working together. The project has gone well and has been recognised by provincial and national-level authorities.

At the project launch event, a forum was provided where government and civil society organisations in the three target provinces had a chance to exchange their implementation approaches and ideas and share recommendations to jointly address trafficking in persons. The partners in attendance included Provincial Social Development and Human Security, Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Welfare Protection Center for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Provincial Shelter for Children and Families, Provincial Labour, Provincial Labour Protection and Welfare, Provincial Employment Office, Immigration Police, Provincial Police, and Civil Society Organisations such as Foundation for Child Understanding, ADRA, ECPAT, and others.

World Vision is committed to working for hope, joy, and justice for all children, bringing life transformation to the vulnerable. World Vision Foundation of Thailand supports underprivileged children to have better well-being with good health, safety, education, and well-rounded development and learning. Meanwhile, their families and communities are promoted to reach livelihood security and self-sufficiency. World Vision also extends the support to enhance the engagement of children, adolescents, families, communities, and local volunteers and mobilises contributions across sectors to enable child well-being, as well as allow migrant workers to better access health services and enjoy the rights they deserve. It deals with the root causes and empowers children, families, communities, and vulnerable groups to have a chance to improve their well-being.

Press contact: Miss Wipawee Riwsuwan, World Vision Foundation of Thailand, Tel. 08-1494-5498