Most victims of human trafficking in Thailand were children and
women from neighbouring countries, an NGO monitoring the issue
According to the United Nations Children's Fund, up to 1.2
million children worldwide become victims each year.
The extent of the problem was mapped out by Unicef deputy
executive director Kul Gautum at the International Symposium on
Trafficking of Children, organised by Unicef and the Japanese
government. The symposium, which ended yesterday, brought
together key players in anti-trafficking efforts in Southeast
Asia, mainly NGO representatives, to discuss the situation and
Thailand was very involved, being the country of origin, transit
and destination, the forum said.
Ben Svasti from Trafcord, a Thai NGO trying to combat trafficking
in the northern provinces, said most trafficking victims in
Thailand were foreign nationals, including Laotians, Burmese,
Chinese and Cambodians. The main trafficking routes were through
Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai, Mae Sot district in Tak, and Mae
Hong Son province, he said.
Bodil Tumir, an adviser to Norwegian Church Aid, an NGO in Laos,
said the sex industry in Thailand was largely run by small and
informal cross-border networks, into which a lot of Lao women and
girls were lured.
It is estimated that trafficking in children and women for
commercial sexual purposes in Asia and the Pacific alone
victimised more than 30 million people in the past 30 years.
And in the age of computer-driven culture, trafficking had become
more high-tech, with child pornography, sex tourism information,
and mail-order brides offered openly on the internet, he said.
Fighting this problem required cooperation at national, regional
and international levels.