ข่าวเด่น
Highlights of Progress: Improvement of laws related to labour protection in Fisheries Sector

As part of the reform of legal framework to eliminate IUU fishing and to ensure protection of workers in fishing industry, Thailand has recently amended legislative acts and issued new regulations to better protect workers from exploitation as well as to combat labour trafficking. Details of the amendments concerning the protection of workers in fisheries sector are as follows:

1.    Labour Protection Act (No. 5) B.E. 2560 (2017) was published in the Government Gazette on 24 January 2017 and will come into force on 23 February 2017. It increases penalties for child labour exploitations. Higher penalties are imposed on employers who hire workers (1) below 15 years of age and (2) below 18 years of age to work in hazardous jobs or prohibited work place. Punishments include an imprisonment term of up to 2 years and/or a fine of 400,000 – 800,000 THB (10,500 – 21,000 Euros) per employee (previously 6 months imprisonment and/or 200,000 THB). Such increased penalties also apply in the case of employment of persons under 18 years of age to work in fishing boats and seafood processing plants which is prohibited under the Ministerial Regulation on Labour Protection in Sea Fishery Work B.E. 2557 (2014) and the Ministerial Regulation on Establishments Prohibited from Employment of Children Under 18 Years Old B.E. 2559 (2016).

2.    Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act (No. 3) B.E. 2560 (2017) came into effect on 28 January 2017. It amended the scope of the law to cover different forms of exploitations and slave labour found in fishery sector. The revisions are as follows:

-   The means of exploitation is expanded to include abuse of physical, mental,educational vulnerability or any other forms of vulnerability;

-     The definition of “exploitation” is revised to include “practices similar to slavery”;

-     The definition of “forced labor or services” is revised to include force labour by means of seizure of identification documents and debt-bondages;

-          Providing that if a committed offence causes a severe injury or disease that could be life-threatening to the victim, the offender is reliable for an increased penalty of imprisionment for a term of 8 – 20 years and a fine of up to 800,000 – 2,000,000 THB (21,000 – 52,000 Euro).

-       Imposing penalty of up to 4 years imprisonment and a fine of up to 400,000 THB (10,500 Euro) for the case of trafficking of children under 15 years of age to carry out extremely dangerous work or service which has an effect on their body or mind, growth, or personal development; or to work in a dangerous environment; or to carry out immoral acts.


3.    The Ministry of Interior has issued two Ministerial Announcements dated 27 January 2017 permitting migrant trafficking victims and witnesses to stay and work in Thailand for up to 2 years after their cases have reach the verdicts. The work permit can be extended each time for one year. These Announcements are in addition to the Ministerial Announcement in 2016 which allows migrant trafficking victims and witnesses to stay and work in Thailand during the proceeding of their cases. Furthermore, victims residing in the shelters for trafficked persons who do not work are provided with three meals a day along with aid money in the amount equal to minimum daily wage.


4.    Navigation in The Thai Waters Act (No. 17) B.E. 2560 (2017) was published in the Government Gazette on 24 January 2017 and will come into force on 23 February 2017. It added section 285/1 to formally grant the Marine Department the power to issue a seaman book when requested. Although the Marine Department has already been issuing seaman book for sea fishery workers, such responsibility was not clearly stipulated in the previous legislation. The amendment therefore modernizes the Thai navigation law and bring it into coherence with the existing measures governing the issuance of seamen book.


5.    The Marine Department is also proposing further legislative amendments to improve the legal framework governing the management of fishing vessels to be in line with the new Royal Ordinance on Fisheries. The proposed amendment requires the vessel master to report to the Marine Department when entering, exiting, and navigating Thai Waters. It authorizes more power to the Marine Department to reject applications for vessel usage and to revoke vessel registrations. It also increases fines for using vessel without permission or outside the permitted navigation areas.

 

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Department of European Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

8 February 2017