On Friday, the U.S. FBI released a report on their recent work collaborating with the Thai government to curb the child sex trade in Thailand.
They noted that Thailand, a popular tourist destination for a variety of reasons, also lures visitors in with its famed sex trade. That’s no secret, of course, but their report focused on the steps they are taking to save and protect the saddest part of this unfortunate industry, the child victims forced to work in the sex trade.
The report discusses how the FBI, and other agencies, are partnering with the Thai government to try and stop the sexual trafficking of children and address the needs of victims. To read the report, click here.
“The Thai government has adopted a new urgency when it comes to the issues of child exploitation, sexual abuse, and trafficking in persons,” said U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies. “This new urgency is very welcome.”
The ambassador noted that child sexual trafficking is “huge problem in Thailand, as it is in many countries.” He was pleased that the Thai government wanted to work together with the U.S. government on the issue.
“We’ve got the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department’s expertise and resources that we can bring to bear,” Davies said.
Among the works noted in the report were:
-Chiang Mai’s new government-sponsored Child Advocacy Center, which is the first in Southeast Asia and designed to give home and treatment to victims.
-A 2015 law that makes it easier to prosecute sex abusers, pedophiles and those found making, distributing or collecting child pornography.
-The founding of the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (TICAC). This team works against child sexual exploitation that also has an online component.
– The Royal Thai Police’s project to create a victim assistance program that provides trained police specialists to work with and for child victims.
Gen. Tamesak Wicharaya, assistant police commissioner in charge of the TICAC, said of the issue, “Trafficking is a serious crime. It is a crime against human dignity, but when they do this to our children, it is even worse.”
He noted that the Thai government is working to protect Thai children from being sexually exploited by either Thais or foreigners.
Special Agent John Schachnovsky, of the FBI’s office in Bangkok, said, “We see a large number of travelers from the U.S. and other countries coming here to commit acts against children. To travel from the U.S. to any foreign country and engage in sex with a minor is against the law [for U.S. citizens].”
He said that providing strong assistance to these victims is of the utmost importance. “For victims of crime to know that the police force is on their side from day one is very important. The world knows that the sexual exploitation of children is a problem. There aren’t two sides to the issue of taking care of victims. This is a situation where we are able to do something that is 100 percent right.”
Gen. Tamesak made the point that the more child sex criminals, abusers, tourists and traffickers sent to Thai prisons or extradited abroad for prosecution in their own country, the louder the worldwide message that Thailand doesn’t turn a blind eye to pedophiles.
“We hope that we can send a clear message to those people that Thailand is not a safe haven for them. We will work harder to stop these kinds of people.”