SONGKHLA, Thailand, May 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Five state and private parties announced today that they have established Thailand's first Fishermen's Life Enhancement Centre (FLEC) in Songkhla. The centre is part of the effort to tackle problem of illegal labor in fishery industry. It will provide resources to an estimated 25,000 legal and illegal migrant workers in the province and nearby areas.
The center has been established under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Fish Marketing Organization under Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand, Stella Maris Seafarers Center Songkhla (Baan Suksan) and Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF).
Dr.Theerapat Prayunrasiddhi, Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, said, "The Thai government has given priority to the effort to tackle issues of forced labor and the use of illegal labor in the fishery industry. It is also committed to crack down on any illegal practices, with cooperation from all relevant parties both in government and the private sector, such as CPF. At the same time, the government also desires to upgrade living standards, particularly for migrant workers, in-line with humanitarian principles and international standards. This project is part of a broader scheme to provide more protection for legal and illegal labor seeking help and fair treatment."
The FLEC has 5 main objectives:
1. The formation of migrant worker volunteers' network and building of a good environment for providing services, safeguarding and protecting anyone at risk of or affected by human trafficking.
2. Assisting and supporting anti-human trafficking policy at the provincial and local level.
3. Being the learning and training center for migrants' children and families, focused on providing knowledge and working skills.
4. Being the center for care giving, nursing and preliminary disease screening and to provide religious services for fish processing workers and families of migrant workers.
5. Being the coordination center for the accepting of complaint reports from migrant workers on unfair treatment.
Mr. Suchat Junthalakana, Manager of FLEC and the Stella Maris Seafarers Center Songkhla, said, "the center will be the key mechanism to reinforce anti-human trafficking policy at the provincial and local level. It also aims to help improve living standards and assist in the careers of more than 25,000 workers, including Cambodian, Myanmar and Laotian nationalities in the fishery and fish processing industry living in Muang District, as well as nearby districts. In addition, the centre will also help people who are at risk of falling into the human-trafficking cycle, migrant children and families with Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao nationalities who reside near Songkhla fishing port and nearby areas."
"The FLEC is established to develop quality of life of legal workers and their families and illegal workers who seek help from us. The center will give them advice on labor protection and support them on working opportunities and provision of basic needs as per humanitarian principles as well as to promoting understanding on anti-human trafficking policy', said Mr. Suchat.
The operational timeframe for the Center is set for 5 years (2016-2020). After that, the committee will review and assess the performance of project on an annual basis. The project targets to cover more than 25,000 at-risk people, divided into 5 groups consisting of 3,565 fishery and fish processing workers; 20,000 workers who are at risk of falling into the human trafficking cycle; 50 children aged 4-15 years old; 1,200 female workers and 320 young family members. Success of this project will be the model for centres at other fishing piers in Thailand.
The center's space has 4 areas, consisting of a learning room for migrant children, a Muslim prayer room, a nursing room, and a multi-purpose room, including a coordinating center, a meeting room, and a library.
Mr. Wuthichai Sithipreedanant, CPF's Senior Executive Vice President of CSR and Sustainable Development, said "Together with our 4 partners, CPF supports the Thai government in their fight against forced labor and human trafficking. The establishment of FLEC, following the suggestions and collaboration from both the state and civil society, is an initial step in directly addressing the challenges for victims of human trafficking in the Thai fishery industry. Moreover, it has the potential to improve living standards for the most needy fishery workers, as well as their families. At the initial stage, CPF has provided the funding to support the establishment of the center, with the hope that the successful operations of the centre will provide a blueprint for further centres in Thailand and encourage other agencies and private sector companies to join us in this project. "
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SOURCE Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF)