Technical Consultation: Victim Participation in the Thai Criminal Justice System
SIREN Event | March 2012
Bangkok March 8-9 - Over 30 specialist police officers, prosecutors, social workers, NGO workers and UN officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Thailand, and were convened in Bangkok to discuss and formulate strategies regarding the experiences and participation of human trafficking victims in the Thai criminal justice process, as part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) Strategic Information Response Network (SIREN) Initiative.
The event was co-organized by the United Nations Inter Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and Thai Department of Special Investigations, along with NGOs Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation, TRAFCORD, and Alliance Anti Traffic, with the aim of enhancing the quality of services and information being provided to victims of trafficking who choose to participate in the Thai justice process.
“This workshop provided emphasis on trafficked victims, who play a significant role in the provision of testimony and evidence. It gave confidence to investigation officers, state attorneys, and related personnel to develop and improve the prosecution process” noted Mr YongYoot Sirsattayachon of the Thai Office of Attorney General.
Discussions were organized according to three stages of victim cooperation in the criminal justice process: victim cooperation during police rescue/investigation operations; while in shelter; and through the court process. Voices and perspectives of victims underpinned all discussions, with discussion groups being launched by first showing video interviews of Cambodian and Myanmar victims sharing their stories and opinions about their experiences serving as a witness in the Thai criminal justice process, and how processes could be improved. Participant service providers from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar provided additional depth and information from their experiences and perspectives assisting these victims post-repatriation.
Through discussions and presentations, the expert participants worked together to developed recommendations on how to improve processes and procedures that better facilitate criminal justice cooperation from human trafficking victims.
“We got to work and develop guidelines together. From the logical discussion and active participation, a conclusion was reached wtih satisfaction has been reached by both origin and destination countries,” said Ms Chaleerat Saengsuwon of the NGO Alliance Anti-Traffic.
“If we can work together to help trafficked victims feel confident and secure, they will tell us all the details required to help ensure perpetrators are prosecuted,” noted Mr Yongyoot Sirattayachon of the Office of Attorney General.
Recommendations from the event will be reported in a forthcoming UNIAP SIREN report and used to shape policy. The set of recommendations that were developed during the workshop aim improve the processes and procedures for managing victim participation and the best interest of victims before, during, and after the prosecution process. The recommendations were designed to be implemented in in both source and destination countries.