THAILAND: Tier 2 Watch List
Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Thai victims of trafficking and some of the estimated three to four million migrant workers in Thailand are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or sex trafficking. Some labor trafficking victims are exploited in commercial fishing and related industries, factories, agriculture, and domestic work, or forced into street begging. Migrant workers who are trafficking victims may be deported without effective screening for indicators of trafficking. Sex trafficking remains a significant problem in Thailand’s extensive commercial sex industry.
Women, men, boys, and girls from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma are subjected to labor and sex trafficking in Thailand. Thailand is also a transit country for victims from China, North Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and Burma subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia, South Korea, the United States, and countries in Western Europe. Thai nationals have been subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in Thailand and in countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Members of ethnic minorities, highland persons, and stateless persons in Thailand have experienced instances of abuse indicative of trafficking. Children from Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotel rooms, and private residences. Local NGOs report the use of social media to recruit children into sex trafficking. Some parents or brokers force children from Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma to sell flowers, beg, or work in domestic service in urban areas. Reports indicate separatist groups in southern Thailand continue to recruit and use children to commit acts of arson or serve as scouts.
Many foreign trafficking victims migrate willingly to Thailand seeking employment, often with the assistance of relatives and community members or informal recruitment networks. Most migrate through irregular channels without identity documents or travel documents from their countries of origin. Instances of human trafficking, smuggling, abduction, and extortion of migrants occur as migrants move between Thailand and neighboring countries. Traffickers, including registered and unregistered labor brokers of Thai and foreign nationalities, bring foreign victims into Thailand through both formal migration and smuggling routes and serve as intermediaries between job-seekers and employers. Some brokers charge substantial fees or collaborate with corrupt law enforcement officials, and some migrant workers incur significant debts to obtain employment and are subjected to debt bondage. A number of brokers and employers continue to confiscate identity documents. Thai men and women who migrate overseas also rely on registered and unregistered labor brokers to facilitate acquisition of low-skilled contract work or agricultural labor and are sometimes subjected to conditions of forced labor and debt bondage.
Trafficking in the fishing industry remains a significant concern. Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, and Indonesian men are subject to forced labor on Thai and foreign-owned fishing boats. Some remain at sea for several years, are paid very little or irregularly, work as much as 18 to 20 hours per day for seven days a week, or are reportedly threatened, physically beaten, drugged to work longer, and even killed for becoming ill, attempting to escape, or disobeying orders. Some trafficking victims in the fishing sector had difficulty returning home due to isolated workplaces, unpaid wages, and the lack of legitimate identity documents or safe means to travel.
Corruption continues to undermine anti-trafficking efforts. Reports persist that some government officials are directly complicit. Migrant workers, especially those who are undocumented, are fearful of reporting trafficking crimes and cooperating with authorities due to minimal protections both in Thailand and in countries of origin and lack of awareness of their rights. Reports persist that some government officials profit from bribes and direct involvement in the extortion of migrants and their sale to brokers. Some of these migrants are kidnapped and held for ransom, which increases their vulnerability to sexual servitude, forced labor, or debt bondage. Some officials allegedly profit from trafficking and other criminal offenses committed against trafficking victims. Credible reports indicate some corrupt officials protect brothels and other commercial sex venues from raids and inspections and collude with traffickers.
The Government of Thailand does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government amended its 2008 anti-trafficking laws and other laws related to forced labor in the fishing and seafood industry, which increased criminal and civil penalties on traffickers, allowed for the closure of businesses involved in forced labor, and provided legal protection for whistleblowers. The government increased the numbers of investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and victims identified in 2015, compared with 2014. Labor trafficking investigations increased; however widespread forced labor in Thailand’s seafood sector continued to occur. The government increased efforts to hold government officials complicit in trafficking crimes criminally accountable; however, official complicity continued to impede progress in combating trafficking. The government established a specialized anti-trafficking prosecution division and an anti-trafficking court division and increased anti-trafficking training for police, prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors, social workers, and navy personnel. Multidisciplinary teams inspected sea vessels and land-based seafood processing workplaces and found 430 cases of labor violations, including human trafficking cases. The government solicited multi-stakeholder feedback to improve victim identification questions and procedures and hired more interpreters; however effective, proactive screening for victims remained limited, and officials often failed to identify trafficking cases involving non-physical coercion or debt bondage. Only 10 percent of trafficking victims in government shelters worked outside of shelters during the reporting period. The government did not provide legal alternatives to victims who faced retribution or hardship upon return to their home countries. The court dismissed criminal defamation cases against two journalists who reported on trafficking and official complicity; however, fear of retaliation or defamation suits discouraged reporting on trafficking crimes.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THAILAND:
Prosecute officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish those found guilty with sufficiently stringent sentences; increase efforts to identify victims among vulnerable populations, including migrants, stateless persons, children, and refugees; prosecute and convict traffickers through proactive law enforcement and systematic cooperation with civil society; increase resources for the specialized human trafficking investigation, prosecution, and court divisions; increase training and resources for multidisciplinary teams, including labor inspectors, at ports and on vessels to better detect indicators of forced labor and debt bondage, and refer cases for criminal investigation; improve the consistency for victim identification, screening, and interview procedures, and prioritize the rights and safety of potential victims; increase roles of labor inspectors in actively screening and assisting potential labor trafficking victims; regulate, investigate, and improve labor recruitment practices for migrant workers; fully implement new rules conferring legal status and work permits for trafficking victims and ensure that adult trafficking victims be able to travel, work, and reside outside shelters in accordance with the anti-trafficking law; continue to increase the availability of qualified interpretation services across government agencies with responsibilities for protecting workers, migrants, refugees, and victims of trafficking; enhance government capacity to implement anti-trafficking laws and regulations, especially at state and local levels; foster press freedom including on human trafficking reporting; promote an environment conducive to robust civil society participation in all facets of fighting human trafficking; increase incentives for victims to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, including by providing foreign trafficking victims legal alternatives to deportation to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship and providing witness protection services; continue to develop specialized law enforcement and social welfare services for child sex trafficking victims; continue to increase anti-trafficking awareness efforts directed at employers and clients of the sex trade, including sex tourists; and improve migrant workers’ rights, legal status, and labor migration policies to minimize the risk of trafficking.
The government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2008 anti-trafficking law criminally prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties ranging from four to 10 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. A 2015 amendment to the law imposed harsher penalties in cases resulting in death, to include up to life imprisonment and a maximum fine of 400,000 baht ($13,333). The amendment also includes measures to protect whistleblowers and gives authorities power to temporarily halt operations and immediately suspend licenses of businesses involved in human trafficking. An October 2015 amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act enabled the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to freeze assets with a court order during trafficking investigations and to allocate a portion of the seized assets to victim compensation.
The government reported investigating 317 trafficking cases (280 in 2014), prosecuting 242 traffickers (155 in 2014) and convicting 241 traffickers (104 in 2014). Despite the prevalence of forced labor in Thailand, the government reported only 72 investigations (58 in 2014) involving suspected cases of forced labor and prosecuted only 33 cases of forced labor involving 71 suspected traffickers. The government did not report how many convictions it obtained for forced labor. Sixty-four percent (29 percent in 2014) of convicted traffickers received prison sentences greater than five years; and 84 percent (68 percent in 2014) received sentences of more than three years’ imprisonment. AMLO investigated 40 cases reportedly tied to human trafficking. It reported dropping four cases, and the other 36 remained pending.
The government initiated prosecutions of cases involving abused Rohingya asylum-seekers and Bangladeshi migrants, some of whom were suspected trafficking victims. Of the 155 arrest warrants issued, 92 perpetrators were arrested during the reporting period, including a senior military officer, and several other police, military, and local officials. All were charged with human trafficking offenses, as well as other related criminal charges. AMLO seized 210 million baht ($5.8 million) and provided evidence of related financial transactions for use in ongoing criminal proceedings. Court proceedings for the cases were expected to last several years. Despite new whistleblower protections, one of the lead police investigators resigned and subsequently left the country, reportedly in fear for his safety.
The government investigated ship owners, captains, and brokers for labor trafficking in the fishing industry in 41 cases, with 31 vessels seized; 24 of the cases related to the Indonesian islands of Ambon and Benjina in which the government issued arrest warrants for 98 suspects, 19 of whom have been arrested. Most cases remain under prosecution, but in one case the criminal court sentenced one broker to 12 years and six months’ imprisonment. Of the 1,476 Thai workers who returned to Thailand from Indonesia, the government identified 57 trafficking victims and assisted 150 workers subjected to wage violations; however, companies reportedly sent home others to avoid allegations of trafficking. With evidence from an NGO, the government arrested and began prosecution of a business owner in Kantang province and seven others during the reporting period in connection to an investigation into forced labor on fishing boats started in 2013. Fifteen perpetrators, including a former Buddhist abbot and a former military officer, were arrested in a case involving seven child sex trafficking victims. The former Buddhist abbot was sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment. A local NGO noted that the number of child beggars overall fell significantly due to the government’s policy of seeking out and disrupting street begging rings. The government successfully prosecuted two cases of child forced labor and one case of child forced begging.
The government enacted legislation in December 2015 that criminalizes the possession and distribution of child pornography and leveraged the new legislation to build probable cause in cases involving internet-facilitated child trafficking and sexual exploitation. Foreign and Thai traffickers were arrested and charged with crimes including sex trafficking following the creation of the Thai Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) Task Force. TICAC represents a multi-agency and multidisciplinary response to child trafficking in the digital age. TICAC officers have made several arrests and enforcement actions that have resulted in human trafficking charges.
The government maintained robust anti-trafficking training efforts. It funded anti-trafficking training for 2,640 police, prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors, social workers, and navy personnel. Separate trainings focused on amendments to the 2008 Anti-Trafficking Act, guidelines on forced labor and debt bondage, joint inspections of human trafficking in the fishing industry, victim identification, child-friendly and gender-sensitive investigation procedures, and enhanced cooperation within the judiciary on human trafficking. Law enforcement officials cooperated with foreign counterparts to investigate foreign nationals involved in child sex trafficking and Thai national sex trafficking victims abroad. While there have been improvements in coordination between prosecutors and police and in the trafficking expertise of the multidisciplinary teams, limited interagency coordination and frequent personnel changes among law enforcement, prosecutors, and multidisciplinary team members hindered prosecution efforts. The government continued efforts to establish a national database that could improve interagency information sharing.
The government established specialized anti-human trafficking divisions within the Bangkok Criminal Court and the Office of the Attorney General in 2015 to address the need for quicker judgments and trafficking expertise among prosecutors and judges. The government reported that, on average, judgments were rendered more quickly than in prior years with more than 43 percent of cases convicted within six months, although some trafficking cases continued to take two years or longer to complete. Some victims were reluctant to remain in shelters while waiting to participate in lengthy trials. With the new anti-trafficking division, the government stated new cases should be completed within one year. Some suspected offenders fled the country or intimidated victims after judges granted bail, further contributing to a climate of impunity for trafficking crimes. The government amended the Criminal Procedure Act No. 30, effective on December 2015, to require the court to be more stringent in considering bail requests.
The government made some efforts to address official complicity, but corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes continued to impede anti-trafficking efforts. In 2015 it filed criminal charges against 34 officials, including several mid- to high-level officials for involvement in human trafficking, as compared with seven officials charged in 2014. The government also reported investigating five additional cases involving several officials who received bribes from entertainment venues where victims of trafficking were found. Of the seven officials charged in 2014, five of those cases remain pending while two were convicted in 2015. One local administrative official was convicted of charges of subjecting a Rohingya man to trafficking in 2015, sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison, and ordered to pay 126,900 baht ($3,520) in compensation to the victim. A second official was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay 60,000 baht ($1,708) in compensation to each of six sex trafficking victims. The government issued an administrative order to prevent public officials’ involvement in trafficking and clearly define complicity as any sort of facilitation of trafficking. The order requires commanding officers to take action within 10 days on any allegations, encourages monetary rewards for those who come forward with actionable reports of official complicity, and established a national committee to coordinate anti-complicity policy. Given the extensive nature of corruption, however, efforts to combat trafficking-related corruption, including official involvement, remained insufficient. Fear of defamation suits or retaliation likely discouraged some journalists, government officials, and civil society members from reporting and law enforcement officials from pursuing trafficking cases.
The government maintained efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims, although overall victim screening and protection efforts remained inadequate. The government identified 720 trafficking victims in 2015, compared with 595 victims in 2014. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) reported providing assistance to 471 victims at government shelters (compared with 303 in 2014), including 126 Thai victims (67 in 2014) and 345 foreign victims (236 in 2014,); 320 were victims of forced labor and 151 were victims of sex trafficking. Authorities assisted in the repatriation of 401 victims (211 Thai victims and 190 foreign victims). Thailand signed onto the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (ACTIP) on November 21, 2015.
The government improved victim identification procedures, but proactive screening remained inadequate. There continued to be insufficient interpreters available in some areas; an uneven understanding of trafficking indicators among front-line officers; and a lack of private spaces to screen potential victims. The government successfully registered 138 qualified interpreters and trained 89 volunteer interpreters. It trained 910 police officers and 300 other government officials on victim identification and referral systems. It also deployed multidisciplinary teams in some cases to screen for indications of trafficking among women in prostitution and potential victims of child sex trafficking, Thai workers, some Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants identified during raids or onboard fishing vessels, and other vulnerable populations. Multidisciplinary teams’ composition and level of expertise varied; some were very effective in interviewing potential victims, while others lacked adequate training or protocols to conduct effective screening. Some law enforcement officers failed to recognize debt bondage (exploitive debt) or traffickers’ manipulation of undocumented migrants’ fear of deportation as non-physical indicators of trafficking. Investigators and multidisciplinary teams may also have failed to recognize trafficking cases where victims originally consented to work, but were deceived about working conditions and subjected to trafficking conditions. Labor inspectors were not required to have a background in labor law and could be held personally liable for claims of abuse of power, which limited their ability to perform their work. The government continued to screen for trafficking indicators among fishermen returning to Thailand and on fishing vessels. Interviews were sometimes brief and conducted in open environments where brokers and ship captains were sometimes present in the same room, which may have led to many unidentified trafficking victims. Through consultations with civil society, the government revised its standard interview guide for potential trafficking victims that detailed indicators of forced labor and debt bondage; the new procedures were deployed in January 2016.
The government maintained the availability of protective services for victims. The government continued to refer victims to one of 76 short-stay shelters or one of nine long-term regional trafficking shelters run by the MSDHS, where they reportedly received counseling, legal assistance, and medical care, civil compensation and financial aid, victim/witness protection, education or vocational trainings and employment either inside or outside shelters. While multidisciplinary teams could conduct additional interviews with potential victims not initially identified as trafficking victims, many undocumented migrants were quickly deported or unwilling to collaborate due to fearing of long stays in shelters with limited employment opportunities, making this less effective in practice. As a result, some front-line immigration officers reportedly deported potential labor and sex trafficking victims. In some complicated cases, MSDHS hired human rights lawyers to be co-plaintiffs, participate in interviews, and coordinate and prepare witnesses for trial. Following a significant influx of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants in 2014-2015 and the discovery of largely abandoned smuggling/trafficking camps on the Thai-Malaysian border, 514 Rohingya and Bangladeshis remained in Thailand at the end of the reporting period. The government reported identifying 119 Rohingya and 83 Bangladeshi as trafficking victims. In coordination with UNHCR and IOM, 99 Rohingya resettled to a third country, while 146 were in the process of resettlement at the end of the reporting period; some of these were trafficking victims. There were likely additional trafficking victims among those not formally identified. Accommodations remained limited for Rohingya men not identified as trafficking victims due to insufficient space at immigration detention centers (IDCs). There have been reports of violence against several Rohingya men by IDC authorities.
Although most (53 percent) identified victims were younger than 18 years old, the government had limited specialized services for child trafficking victims. Some children picked up in police raids were separated from their parents and, if undocumented, forced to choose between spending years in a shelter or being deported by themselves. However, police maintained effective cooperation with international law enforcement counterparts in child sex trafficking cases involving foreign perpetrators. Judicial officials did not always follow procedures to ensure the safety of witnesses; victims, including children, were at times forced to testify in front of alleged perpetrators or to disclose personal information such as their address, which put them at serious risk of retaliation. Although the government passed the Anti-Human Trafficking Amendment No. 2, reportedly to enhance protection and reduce the threat of intimidation against whistleblowers, NGOs reported witnesses remained vulnerable to intimidation even in government-run shelters. In response, the government expanded witness protection to 82 victims; many of whom were trafficking victims. NGOs reported concerns over the lack of appropriate options for foreign children whose families were complicit in their trafficking or who could not be identified.
The government did not make significant progress in ensuring that all adult trafficking victims were able to travel, work, and reside outside shelters as provided by Thailand’s anti-trafficking law. Of the 497 victims in government shelters, the government issued 58 work permits and visas (compared with 57 in 2014), to work temporarily in Thailand during the course of legal proceedings. Only 47 victims worked outside the shelter. Others were either formally repatriated, chose not to work, could not find work, were too young to work, or accepted paid work in the shelter. On March 15, 2016, the Cabinet approved additional measures to permit migrant trafficking victims and witnesses to stay in Thailand for up to one year (previously six months), allowed foreign victims to renew work permits after the completion of a case, streamlined the process of obtaining works permits from 45 days to 10 days, and stated that all witnesses of human trafficking cases would be automatically entitled to the witness protection program. On February 2016, a new regulation on financial rewards and compensation came into force, which allows the government to disburse financial rewards and/or compensation of $846 – $2,828 for persons assisting in arrest and prosecution of human traffickers.
In 2015, the government disbursed 7.1 million baht ($197,222) from its anti-trafficking fund to 472 victims (463 in 2014). The government filed petitions on behalf of 77 victims (57 in 2014) and received civil compensation of 3.3 million baht ($93,020). The law protects victims from prosecution for acts committed as a result of being subjected to human trafficking; however, flaws in the government’s victim identification procedures and its efforts to arrest and soft-deport immigration violators increased victims’ risk of being re-victimized and treated as criminals. Unidentified victims were likely among migrants subjected to government citations for lack of proper documentation during the year detained in sometimes-overcrowded immigration detention facilities.
A 2005 cabinet resolution established stateless trafficking victims in Thailand could be given residency status on a case-by-case basis; however, the Thai government had yet to report granting residency status to a foreign or stateless trafficking victim. The government did not provide legal alternatives to victims who faced retribution or hardship upon return to their home countries but coordinated with international organizations to resettle 99 victims to a third country. The government systematically repatriated 401 Thai and foreign victims through a government-to-government process if they were unwilling to testify or following the conclusion of legal proceedings.
The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. It significantly increased funding for migrant labor management and anti-trafficking efforts from 1.53 billion baht ($42 million) in fiscal year 2015 to 2.08 billion baht ($57 million) in fiscal year 2016. It conducted campaigns through radio, television, billboards, and handouts to raise public awareness of the dangers of human trafficking throughout the country. Given the low literacy rate and the diversity of languages among at-risk persons, however, this information remained inaccessible to many. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Ministry of Labor increased the number of non-Thai language speaking hotline operators, but NGOs deemed the quality of the service variable and at times insufficient in informing callers of whether labor laws had been violated.
In 2015, courts acquitted two journalists of criminal defamation after their 2013 reporting on Navy complicity in trafficking Rohingya in Thailand. Advocates, however, expressed concerns that ongoing cases against an anti-trafficking proponent, despite the dismissal of one case against him, had the effect of silencing other human rights advocates. A lead investigator on high-profile official corruption and trafficking cases resigned and reportedly sought asylum in Australia after publicly indicating he faced threats and intimidation. These developments impeded a climate conducive to preventing trafficking, discovering and reporting trafficking crimes, identifying victims, and apprehending additional traffickers.
The government strengthened border control enforcement to prevent the crossing of both traffickers and vulnerable populations. The government registered and offered work permits to 149,623 migrant workers in the fishing and seafood sector in an attempt to regularize their legal status in Thailand. The government made limited efforts to regulate recruiters or employment service agencies that provide service to migrant workers. While the number of migrant workers using the formal government-to-government migration system for foreign workers to work in Thailand modestly increased from 217,111 in 2014 to 279,311 in 2015, most migrant workers did not use this mechanism due to high costs tied to corruption on both sides of the border, lengthy processing times, and difficulties in changing employers. The Supreme Court ruled in August 2015 that employers could not deduct migration and documentation expenses from workers’ wages. The government granted citizenship to 8,038 stateless persons, an increase from 5,667 in 2014.
The government acknowledged the labor shortage in the fishing sector was due in large part to some workers’ unwillingness to work in the industry due to poor working and living conditions. The government established a Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) to combat illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and with some responsibilities to identify trafficking victims and improve working conditions. The CCCIF established 28 port-in-port-out centers, which perform inspections at port, at sea, and on land to ensure that fishing vessels are operating legally and workers have contracts, work permits, and identity documents. From May 2015 – January 2016, the multidisciplinary teams of the CCCIF inspected 8,398 vessels at sea and 152 on land seafood processing workplaces, in addition to port inspections. These inspections led to the investigation of 430 cases of labor violations under various laws, four trafficking cases, suspension of operations at 19 workplaces, one arrest, and non-trafficking criminal charges against 27 workplaces for labor violations. A shortage of government interpreters meant, however, that many labor inspectors were unable to speak with many migrant workers, and interviews were often conducted in front of ship captains, which prevented workers from speaking freely. During the reporting period, 4,562 vessels were equipped with vessel monitoring technology, and the government approved and implemented regulations to prohibit workers younger than age 18 from working in seafood processing industries. Exploitative labor practices in the fishing industry, however, remained a significant issue, partly exacerbated by weak law enforcement, delays to hold business owners or boat captains criminally accountable, nascent efforts to improve data linkage among relevant agencies, and fragmented coordination among regulatory agencies. Due to training and staffing limitations, officials on multidisciplinary teams focused primarily on whether workers were in legal immigration status and had legal documentation, rather than on indicators of forced labor.
In 2015, the government found unlawful practices in 10 of the 433 labor recruitment agencies that facilitate overseas and domestic employment. For these cases, the government suspended the licenses of three agencies and filed criminal charges against seven agencies. It further initiated prosecutions against 68 illegal brokers under the Employment and Job-Seeker Protection Act in 73 cases involving 287 Thai laborers. The government also implemented government-to-government programs with four countries to reduce the costs to Thai workers going to work abroad in guest worker programs. The government, however, remained ineffective in regulating the excessive formal and informal fees incurred by some Thai workers to obtain employment abroad, which made them vulnerable to debt bondage or exploitative working and living conditions.
To prevent child sex tourism, the government reported it denied entry to 511 known foreign sex offenders, compared with 98 in 2014. The Ministry of Tourism organized four trainings for 647 local government officials, tourism sector workers, and civil society organizations on prevention of child sexual exploitation in the tourism industry, and held an anti-trafficking seminar for 200 members of the tourism industry. The government reported operating a surveillance network on child sex tourism by training business operators in high-risk areas to identify and report cases to the police. The government took steps to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts, including a public awareness campaign to inform tourists and Thai citizens of the severe criminal punishment of those found to be involved in child sexual exploitation. The government set up the Thai Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce to combat internet-facilitated child sex trafficking and exploitation. The government made efforts to decrease demand in forced labor. It passed a new Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, which allows the government to close or revoke business licenses of a factory and significantly increase criminal penalties on employers in fishing and seafood processing facilities that employ workers without a permit to stay and work. The government investigated and prosecuted prominent forced labor cases in the export-oriented commercial fishing and seafood processing sectors this year involving 112 defendants and publicized the prosecutions in an attempt to decrease the demand for forced labor. The government provided anti-trafficking training to its diplomatic personnel.