Laos, Thailand sign agreement to rehabilitate human trafficking victims
Laos and Thailand have agreed to build a social development centre in Laos to rehabilitate human trafficking victims, with Thailand pledging to sponsor the construction of the centre, Thai media reported on Monday.
The agreement was reached at the 20th Lao-Thai Joint Commission meeting held in Chiang Rai province, Thailand on Monday, the Chiang Rai Times reported.
Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Thongloun Sisoulith and Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Don Pramudwinai signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the centre following the meeting.
The Thai minister told media that Thailand would support the construction of the centre and personnel development, working towards the prevention of and solutions to human trafficking in the two countries as well as other countries in the region.
The centre will be built in Phonhong district, Vientiane province. However, the expected cost of construction and timeframes involved were not reported.
Both sides also agreed to host a meeting between officials from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam this year to decide on how to launch a cross-border bus service linking the three countries, according to Thailand's The Nation .
Besides this, the two parties expressed readiness to sign a border-security agreement, which would promote order in the border area for the peace of both the Thai and Lao peoples, The Nation reported.
During the joint commission meeting, attended by 100 representatives from both sides, Thailand proposed adjustments to the agreement on Thai-Lao cross-border travel. It was aimed at better accommodating people and enabling Thai and Lao workers living in border areas to cross the border for work on a daily or seasonal basis.
The two countries also discussed drafting an MoU on Thai-Lao employment and another MoU on labour protection and skill development for Lao workers hired by Thai employers, Mr Don was quoted as saying by The Nation .
This year marks various special occasions including the 40th anniversary of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the 65th anniversary of Lao-Thai diplomatic ties.
Invited as a guest of Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Mr Don also attended a foundation-laying ceremony for a 60-bed hospital building named “Lao-Thai's 65th Anniversary” at Bokeo provincial hospital in Laos yesterday.
The Nation quoted Mr Thongloun as saying that the two sides also agreed to complete a survey demarcating the border to promote peaceful co-existence and to assist the operations of field officials.
Laos also expressed its readiness to host the next joint commission meeting in Vientiane in 2016.
In related news, Thai Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Khongcheep Tantrawanich said Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, during the Defence Council meeting yesterday, urged troops along the border to implement stricter measures against drug smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal entry.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update October 30, 2015)