C-TIP: Fight Against Thai Sex-Trafficking

Written by Sophia Quan

According to the International Labour Organization’s 2012 Global Estimate of ForcedLabour, approximately 4.5 million individuals are currently victims of sexual exploitation (ILO). Over 137 countries have been reported to house the sex-trafficking and exploitation of women, affecting every continent and economy in the world (UN.GIFT). Thailand, a country situated in the center of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, has as many as 400,000 women and children being sex-trafficked in and out of the country. Prior to the 1960s, prostitution in Thailand was legal; however, due to the demands from the United Nations, Thailand deemed prostitution illegal through the Prostitution Suppression Act in 1960. This ignited the start of Thailand’s underground sex industry and the sex trafficking of women. In return for the United States’ billions of dollars in economic and military aid during the Vietnam War, the Royal Thai government provided sites for U.S. soldiers to rest and recuperate (R&R). The influx of male troops deprived of female contact allowed for the expansion of sex trafficking and helped fuel the Thai sex industry; their promiscuity resulted in the spending of over 20 million U.S. dollars on commercial sex in the year of 1970 alone (Tarancon).

After the Vietnam War, the Thai sex industry began focusing on catering foreign tourists. By 2002, there was an estimated 10 million tourists compared to the 2 million in 1981, with over 60% of them being male. Over 70% of these male tourists were there mainly to indulge themselves in the widely commercialized Thai “nightlife” (World Outreach). The Royal Thai government established the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) to further promote not only the authentic cuisine and renowned destinations but also to subliminally promote the Thai sex
industry. To this day, the TAT continues to publish brochures with slogans promoting Thailand’s “legendary nightlife” and “classical Siamese dancing’s absorbing sensuality,”  indirectly referencing to the never-ending availability of Thailand’s commercial sex businesses (Bishop). According to Kevin Bales, a former president of “Free the Slaves”, a sister organization of the world’s oldest human rights organizations, the “[Thai] Government has let businessmen ransack the nation’s human and natural resources to achieve growth.”

As Thailand’s economy continues to develop through tourism income and industrialization, there is a correlated decline in ethnic Thai women involved in prostitution (Bales). Industrial growth has paved way for an increase in the number of jobs for women, and Thailand’s prospering economy has allowed for the expansion of education. Well-educated girls
are less likely to succumb to the offers made by brokers, and with the spread of technology, younger girls are becoming more aware of the dangers of sex work.  However, even with the decline in ethnic Thai sex workers, the Thai sex industry continues to thrive through the increasing supply of sex workers found in populations of migrants. Most of these victims cannot speak the Thai language and come from countries such as China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao, and Burma, where poverty is rampant (Arnold).

As the Thai sex industry continues to grow, many young girls and women are sexually
exploited and have become victims of trafficking. The most effective solution to this problem is to support the United States Agency of International Development’s (USAID) Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) policy. Through plans such as the IR 2.2, which strives for the reintegration and repatriation of victims from foreign countries, C-TIP aims to combat sex trafficking by working with local governments around the world such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar. C-TIP also strives to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to arrange for better protection for victims and to raise more awareness in rural areas through free education programs warning about trafficking schemes (USAID).  Although the C-TIP does not target to combat sex trafficking in Thailand specifically, it works against the sex industry on a global scale as it also attempts to end trafficking in neighboring countries. According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime executive director, Yury Fedotov, in order to combat such crimes, “We need to build a comprehensive and coordinated response at the local, regional, and international levels.” This is crucial due to the fact that fewer and fewer Thai natives are falling for the lies of sex trafficking and most of the commercial sex workers come from outside countries. Thus, by focusing on countries around Thailand, not only will the C-TIP disallow the trafficking of women into Thailand, it will also help prevent trafficking within Thailand, leaving the Thai sex industry short of girls to fuel the businesses.

The C-TIP was created by USAID, a United States agency created to improve global health, further education, strengthen democracy, and protect human rights; in addition, it is one of the largest donors in the fight against sex trafficking. From 2001 to 2011, the agency has funded over $179.9 million to programs in sixty-eight countries. By working with the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL), USAID created the C-TIP, which also integrates principles from the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), an act that lead to the start of  the U.S. Trafficking in Person’s Report. In order for the C-TIP to be effective, USAID created the 2011 Code of Conduct on combating TIP, which aimed to train staff member throughout the agency to ensure that they have complete knowledge of how to identify crimes and victims along with the prohibitions of being involved in any type of trafficking (USAID). Hence, with professionally trained members from within the agency and the previous achievements, the C-TIP proves to be promising.

According to the 2013 Trafficking in Person’s Report (TIP), Thailand is currently on the U.S. Department of State’s Tier 2 watch list, stating that the country’s counter trafficking efforts and results are not on par with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards (US Department of State, 2013). Although the Royal Thai government has shown efforts in ending the sex trafficking of women in Thailand, such as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2008, which made punishment towards perpetrators more severe and established firmer definitions of the victims to prevent loopholes (ECPAT), their efforts remain futile. The Thai government has failed in educating both Thai official and potential victims; many Thai officials are still not yet adequate enough to be able to identify sex-trafficked victims, and thus numerous traffickers are able to escape their punishment (US Department of State, 2011). Migrants and ethnic minorities still hold enormous risks of being enslaved in the sex industry due to their ignorance of Thai laws. Despite the Thai government’s attempts to provide nationwide trafficking in persons hotlines, the sex industry continues to grow due to the fact that many migrants cannot speak the Thai language and cannot call for help.
However, through the C-TIP, these problems can be one step closer to being resolved. With the goals of continuing collaborations with governments around the world, C-TIP plans to have trained members of USAID to pass on knowledge regarding how to identify and deal with sex trafficking to local officials in areas, where many individuals are vulnerable to exploitation. Since many potential victims are left unaware about the dangers they are in, C-TIP combats this problem through its IR 1.2 plan where public and social marketing campaigns are held to inform prospective victims and their family members of the jeopardies of sex trafficking. The IR 1.2 plan also involves education programs within orphanages, community centers, and schools that inform children about the strategies used by brokers. These programs provide one-on-one simulations and training on how to approach TIP activity, along with counseling advice (USAID). Not only does this plan operate within schools, it also includes educational campaigns for potential victims who would not be reached through the previous programs, such as those living in the streets. These programs are to be initiated in eastern countries such as, Burma and Myanmar, where women are highly susceptible to being deceived into the Thai sex industry. Thailand has already shown that by providing education to more girls, fewer ethnic Thai women are involved in sex work. Many neighboring countries are still not yet on par with Thailand’s educational system and economic success, resulting in the many migrant women entering the Thai sex industry. Thus, through C-TIP’s IR 1.2 plan, Thailand’s sex industry will be significantly reduced as an increasing amount of girls from supplier countries become aware of sex trafficking tactics through education programs.

C-TIP’s IR 2.2 plan also takes into account a repatriation and reintegration process for sex-trafficked victims. Most migrant sex workers in Thailand do not have citizenship status and had entered the country by illegal means, becoming criminals in terms of the Thai laws (Tarancon). According to Kevin Bales, women convicted of illegal entry are sent to work in factory prisons to pay off their fines. As a result, they are forced to continue working in the sex industry, unable to look for help due to the fear of getting arrested. A large amount of identified victims have neither the documentation nor money to return home and become prone to being re-trafficked (USAID).  By working with the appropriate government agencies, the IR 2.2 plan aims to develop and strengthen a Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) that sets out processes for assisting victims of trafficking by creating regulations involving repatriation. The plan intends to have the U.S. further the development of partnerships with non-governmental organizations against sex trafficking such as The Mirror Art Group, a local NGO from the Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand. With such partnerships, C-TIP will be able to assist illegal migrants through legislative reform and the incorporation of a set definition of trafficking in persons to guarantee the safety of victims. According to Dr. Rajiv Shah, an American economic specialist and physician, “This policy [C-TIP] is an important step in establishing more analytical, effective approaches to combat trafficking.” The arrangement for more efficient measures in providing victims safer living conditions and vocational training could also be made if the IR 2.2 plan comes into effect through cooperation with NGOs and legislative reform (United States).

Unlike the C-TIP, many policies do not prove sufficient enough to combat sex trafficking in Thailand. One policy approved by the Royal Thai government called Strategy and Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (SMPS) for the period of 2011-2016 concentrated on the areas of prevention, prosecution, protection and assistance,
development of policy mechanisms, and development and effective administration of information. However, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs, the policy lacks performance indicators and timelines, making monitoring and reporting challenging. The Thai government has also failed in taking into account that many police officials have a hard time with victim identification, causing the policy to fail before it was even initiated.  However, unlike SMPS, the C-TIP had already dealt with such problems through the 2011 Code of Conduct. According to Luis CdeBaca, a United States Ambassador in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, “The new C-TIP initiative answers that call, building on the Agency’s Counter-Trafficking Code of Conduct that holds USAID employees and partners to the
highest standards of behavior.” CdeBaca refers “that call” to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that USAID would be expected to further improve internal anti-trafficking efforts in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

Another policy by the Royal Thai government called the National Plan and Policy of Prevention and Cross-Border Trafficking was created in efforts to prevent trafficking between neighboring countries by stationing more Thai troops around the country’s borders. However, many critics such as Samantha Power, a senior director for Multilateral Affairs in the White House National Security Council, castigate the policy for its lack of cooperation with neighboring countries (United States). The C-TIP, along with its IR plans, allow for a much better solution to the problem of sex trafficking in Thailand as it deals with international cooperation and provides educational training to potential and identified victims. As stated by Sarah Mendelson, a deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict & Humanitarian Assistance in USAID, “No one person, organization, or agency can tackle this issue [sex trafficking] alone.”

As the numbers of sexually exploited victims from various countries continue to grow and enter Thailand’s sex industry to this day, USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy proves to be a strong solution to end such crimes. Through its IR 1.2 and IR 2.2 plans, C-TIP will be able provide help to countries around the world such as Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. Contrary to Thailand’s national policies, which were highly criticized as inadequate due to their lack of collaboration and the Thai officials’ lack of knowledge, the C-TIP attests to be a better alternative to the notorious issue of sex trafficking.

Works Cited

“Accountability and Action: USAID’s Counter-Trafficking Policy.” Huffingtonpost. N.p., 25 Mar.
2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

Andrees, Beate. “ILO 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labour.” International Labour

Organization. N.p., 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

Bales, Kevin. “Because She Looks Like a Child.” Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex

Workers in the New Economy. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1999. 207-29. 2002.

Bishop, Ryan. Night Market: Sexual Cultures and the Thai Economic Miracle. United Kingdom:

Psychology P, 1998.

CdeBaca, Luis. “Strengthening the Fight against Modern Slavery.” USAID. United Nations Inter-

Agency, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

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Evaluations and Annotated Bibliographies

United States. United States Agency for International Development. Counter-Trafficking

in Persons Field Guide. USAID, Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

Evaluation

Relevance:
This source contains mostly factual information regarding sex trafficking and the well-written out plans to solve the issue. It directly relates to my research and advocacy proposal as it involves combating the Thai sex industry by means of helping other countries surrounding Thailand.
Evidence:
This policy guide provides details and evidence through statistics and states the exact years in which example events occurred. The guide also addresses the different types of agencies and organizations that are to take part in the policy’s plans
Author/Publisher:
This guide was published by the United States Agency of International Development, an agency created by the United States government. There are no authors listed since this was created by the agency as a whole. However, the guide is given much credibility due to it being a U.S. government agency.
Comprehensiveness:
This policy guide is extremely easy to read since everything is organized neatly into small paragraphs. The guide is somewhat similar to an outline and thus is easy to follow. The information within this guide is highly condensed but is still nonetheless, comprehensible.
Timeliness:
This policy guide was published online on April 2013, which is considered extremely recent in the world of research.
United States. Congressional Research Service. Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and

Issues for Congress. By Liana Sun Wyler and Alison Siskin. N.p., 19 Feb. 2013.

Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

Evaluation:

Relevance:
Similar to numerous U.S. government reports, this source contains mainly factual information regarding the Congress’ previous policies on sex trafficking and international assistance. It provides detailed information regarding U.S. Acts such as the TVPA (2008) and the C-TIP Policy, which is extremely relevant to my advocacy essay topic.
Evidence:
This report is made up of pure factual information without any biases. It includes many agency names involved in the acts and policies mentioned within the text and explains in detail the goals and effects that have been made. There are also citations at the end of each page in the report.
Author/Publisher:
This report was created by the United States Congressional Research Service, a subdivision of Congress that provides congressmen and women up-to-date information and data on current acts, policies, and bills.
Comprehensiveness:
This report is extremely easy to understand in that it provides a list of abbreviations before the reader delves into the report. There are many paragraphs within this report to organize the information presented to the members of congress and anyone interested in reading the report.
Timeliness:
This report is considered very recent due to the fact that it was created on February 19, 2013.

Annotated Bibliographies (Four-Sentence Pattern by AGWR)

CdeBaca, Luis. “Strengthening the Fight against Modern Slavery.” USAID. United Nations Inter-

Agency, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

Luis CdeBaca, a United States Ambassador in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, informs and discusses the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy and the agencies involved. CdeBaca does this through the medium of an article posted on the United Nations webpage. Throughout the article, he informs of the policy’s perks and goals to combat sex trafficking on a global scale. His intended audience would be individuals interested in the C-TIP policy.

Mendelson, Sarah. “Accountability & Action.” FTSBLOG. N.p., 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Aug.

2013.

Sarah Mendelson, a deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict &
Humanitarian Assistance in USAID, describes the discussion of the C-TIP Policy at an annual White House meeting called the Presidential Inter-Agency Task Force (PITF). Mendelson does this through the medium of an article posted on a website hosted by the NGO, Free the Slaves. Throughout the article, Mendelson also informs readers about USAID’s previous policies created to support the C-TIP and the agency’s cooperation with other government agencies. The intended audience of this article would be anyone interested in the C-TIP policy and the PITF meeting.

Sophia Quan

Instructor Clarke

Writing 39C

28 August 2013

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