CityNews – 25th November marked the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, and also marked the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign.
The United Nations designated the 25th November as the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women in order to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subjected to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence on a daily basis. One of the UN’s goals is to highlight the fact that many of these crimes go unreported, and that the true scope of these atrocities is often hidden.
Violence against women is a very concerning issue in Thailand, although many might not feel that way because of lack of statistics and media focus on the issue. Migrant workers are a targeted group, and are less likely to seek help in the face of prejudicial violence because of their lack of legal status, inability to properly communicate in Thai, and limited knowledge of their rights.
Another cause for concern in Thailand is the violence against women involved in human trafficking, which as a country is notorious for trafficking children, teenagers and women into sexual slavery, forced labour, and prostitution.
The Thai government has supported organizations who aim to educate the public about issues relating to violence against women, such as sex and labour trafficking, and the issue of sex tourism in Thailand. However, the government’s efforts to reduce domestic and international demand for commercial sex acts and child sex tourism have been restricted to occasional, infrequent police raids on brothels.
The government has also been criticized for only targeting foreigners in their awareness-raising campaigns, when it is public knowledge that the biggest demand for commercial sex comes from Thai citizens. By cooperating with numerous foreign law enforcement agencies, the government has helped arrest and deport foreign nationals suspected of raping children who are forced to work as prostitutes, but neglect the criminals perpetrating the same acts because they are Thai.
In Thailand, the numbers related to violence against women are not very promising, and are seen as an indicator of an escalating problem. Over 40 percent of women living in Thailand have reported suffering from physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. The Social Development and Human Security Ministry reports that their hotline receives over 2000 complaints a month, most of which are related to human trafficking.
The UN still has high hopes for Thailand’s future, and will continue to campaign to end violence against women in the country.