A landmark human trafficking trial has kicked off in Bankok, Thailand. 92 people, including a lieutenant general, are on trial after gruesome human trafficking camps were discovered in the jungle near the Thai-Malaysia border.
- The Thai authorities insist that there are no more camps left anywhere in the country, but human rights groups say the investigation was cut short.
- One of the most important people – the lead investigator for the case – is not present for the trial. Maj. Gen. Paween Pongsirin, fled to Australia because he feared for his life after uncovering the involvement of high-ranking, influential people.
- There are big concerns about safety for the 300 trafficking survivors who are witnesses, as some have vanished from the state-run shelters.
Read the full article by TIME here.
Read our summary of the human trafficking jungle camps here.
- Some of the defendants are politicians, police officers, and army officers. It is clear that corruption has played a huge role in this human trafficking operation.
- Human Rights groups want this year’s U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report to reflect the situation in the region. Last year the TIP Report upgraded Malaysia (meaning they were no longer in the “failing” category in terms of anti-trafficking efforts) due to a pending trade deal. Fortify Rights is pushing for the 2016 TIP Report to downgrade Myanmar and Malaysia to Tier-3 status and maintain Thailand at Tier-3 status.