At the SAii Laguna Phuket hotel in Phuket province, Thailand played home to the Countering Child Sexual Exploitation Regional Dialogue (CSERD) 2023 from October 23 to October 27.
On October 24, Helen Schneider, Commander of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Dr. Angela Macdonald, Australian Ambassador to Thailand, and Pol. Gen. Surachet Hakpal, Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police received law enforcement officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from nine nations—Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The aim of the meeting, according to Pol. Gen. Surachet, was to strengthen international collaboration in the fight against child sexual exploitation and other types of child abuse.
He also talked about how well the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Royal Thai Police work together in a number of areas, such as Taskforce Storm operations, setting up a network to stop and investigate cross-border crimes using the Case Management and Intelligence System (CMIS), creating the Thai Center of Excellence to fight human trafficking (TIP) in Thailand, and helping to fund training programs for the Australian Royal Thai Police.
In order to address the problem of human trafficking in the ASEAN area, Australia also assists Thailand in holding the First Thailand International Dialogue.
Pol. Gen. Surachet also provided statistics on the number of child exploitation cases. She stated that during the first nine months of 2023, there were 411 cases, or an average of 45 cases per month. This represents an increase of approximately 11.25 percent when compared to the same period in 2022, when there were 482 cases, or an average of 40 cases per month.
The majority of instances (164 cases) concerned the possession of child pornography, with 154 cases involving the sexual exploitation of minors and 75 cases involving human trafficking, which accounted for 18% of the total cases.
The Royal Thai Police have also started an initiative called Child Safe Friend Tourism, which teaches workers in the tourism sector and company owners how to collaborate in order to safeguard and look after children and teenagers in potentially dangerous circumstances.
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