Noy Thrupkaew is an independent journalist who writes on global issues and the focus of her recent studies is human trafficking and the exploitative economic systems that encourage the corruption against which it takes place. Thrupkaew has done extensive research on human trafficking and has interviewed hundreds of survivors, law enforcement officers and NGO workers. She expresses disappointment by what has been done about human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person’s labor.”
Our view of trafficking and what it encompasses is influenced by the worst stories we hear in the media – so we end up believing that trafficking is only about forced prostitution. And this narrow view of trafficking lets all other forms of human trafficking embedded in our everyday lives off the hook.

Types of Trafficking

  • Forced prostitution — 22%
  • State-imposed forced labor — 10%
  • Commerce-based – 68% (creating the goods and services we rely on a daily basis in sectors like agriculture, domestic work and construction —  people who work in these sectors are the worlds most underpaid and exploited.

Thrupkaew cites different examples of human trafficking from Thailand’s fishing industry (where fishermen are thrown overboard if sick or resist mistreatment) which supplies seafood to retailers like Costco and Walmart to the agriculture industry right here in the USA. In the trafficking case involving Global Horizons hundreds of Thai farm workers who were brought over to work on farms in the US. Their passports were taken away from them and some of them were beaten and held at gunpoint. 

Trafficking happens where need meets greed and in sectors where workers are excluded from protections and denied the right to organize and it happens right here in the US too. Thrupkaew’s investigation into the agricultural sector found labor inspectors disproportionate to the number of farms in the United States and immigration laws in the US that keep foreign workers, who are discriminated against or treated badly, silent for fear of losing their livelihood and being deported after having spent everything they had in recruitment fees. The lack of laws protecting such workers from losing their status in the country or denying them the right to organize leaves plenty of room for exploitation. 

You and me could start by not supporting companies that don’t eliminate exploitation from their labor and supply chains. Our prosperity and happiness shouldn’t be a result of another person’s pain. Please listen to Thrupkaew’s insightful talk below. 

TUF Quote

TUF Quote

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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