Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Men, women and children in Thailand are "forced or defrauded" into labour in fishing-related industries, garment production, factories and brothels, according to the U.S. Department of State 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. The document serves as the primary diplomatic tool through which the U.S. government encourages partnership and increased determination in the fight against forced labour, sexual exploitation and modern-day salvery.
The report downgrade Thailand and Malaysia to the lowest possible rating (Tier 3) comparing with 2013. Instead China and Sudan were lifted from that status to Tier 2 "watch list". It includes countries with large numbers of victims of human trafficking, countries where the numbers is steadily rising, or where the government shows an inability to fight the problem.
This year U.S. Department of State found Thailand didn't meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. Bangkok convicted 225 traffickers, according to the report. However, those efforts where described as "insufficient" given the size of the problem and the involvement of corrupt Thai civilians and military officials facilitating trafficking for sex and labour on fishing vessels.
More than 20 million people worldwide are trapped in some form of slavery, including women confined in brothels or as domestic workers, boys forced to sell themselves on the street and men compelled to work on fishing boats, the U.S. said.
Some 40 million people are victims each year, including about 150,000 Filipinos. Catholics work closely with government agencies. For Mgr Ruperto Cruz Santos, education, outreach, and policy programmes are among their priorities.
Pope Francis has Hail Mary recited at the Angelus “to support the victims of trafficking and convert the hearts of traffickers.” The world seems to be getting used to this "aberrant plague", which is “ugly, cruel, criminal!" The pontiff mentioned the parables of the treasure and precious pearl. The quest "is the essential condition for finding". The discovery of the treasure and the pearl entails "sacrifice, detachment and renunciation”. The joy of the farmer and merchant in the parable "is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives."