IDENTIFY – Undercover Human Trafficking Investigator

IDENTIFY – Undercover Human Trafficking Investigator


Prior to coming to Thailand to work with
LIFT International, I was a detective in the New Zealand police working in drugs
and organized crime. By coming here and in seeing what was happening over here, it was certainly an eye opener. It was something that probably I had never
given too much thought to in my previous times in Thailand as a tourist. So I
sort of did a little bit of reading about human trafficking in Thailand. It
was an easy choice to trade in the drugs and gangs for coming over here and
dealing with gangs who are unfortunately dealing a different commodity, in
trafficked men, women and children. My role here is effectively carrying out
investigations, gathering intelligence, overseeing a team doing the same and
also assisting with building relationships and capacity-building
with Thai law enforcement and other stakeholders such as NGOs and people at
government level. Even as recently as a decade ago, girls in bars was the norm
for trafficking here, but just like any criminal syndicates anywhere, criminals
grow and they learn and they get smarter as law enforcement attempts become more public and as technology becomes more and more part of our lives traffickers
are learning about it. We see a lot of girls working on the streets using apps
do that as otherwise being used legally by 99.9 percent of the population is
also being used to pedal trafficked women and children and men as well. It’s
changing, it really is. LIFT can’t operate without law enforcement and government
agencies, so we made sure that our partnerships with them are strong and they’re ongoing and they’re long-lasting to make sure that we’re as effective as
possible at the work that we do. It’s very much collaboration and it’s not
just collaboration outside of LIFT, it’s collaboration inside of LIFT as
well. We work together very closely with our social work/after care and
legal team. It’s not just… it’s not good enough for us just to do an investigation
and then leave it all behind once it’s done, but we need to be thinking down the track about how do we get the best possible outcome for our victims and in
these situations. The investigation that’s just the tip of the
iceberg and then everything else is happening in the background behind the
scenes. Their story doesn’t always get told, it doesn’t always get seen, I mean, our investigation might last for anywhere between three days and 18
months, but then after there you’ve got aftercare and legal who just plug
away and graft away for years afterwards to help rebuild the shattered lives of our victims and to help them get back to as
normal as can be. We see kids who have been trafficked and and they’re given to aftercare, and to just see them sitting there playing like children
again and that’s this all kids want to be as kids, they want to be safe,
they want to bed fed, they want to be healthy, they want to be happy. At a case level, being
able to walk down streets which used to be riddled with foreign trafficking
victims which are now completely empty as a result of those investigations
we’ve carried out, work we’ve done to support law enforcement agencies and to help these victims out of tough situations. We’ve seen a huge change
and Thailand really are leading the way amongst other countries in terms of the
cooperation they’re putting in and that’s really promising and it’s a
really positive sign that that’s happening because that’s the future of
stopping trafficking. When the news media start talking about it, it’s we don’t
want to be seen as the superheroes because we’re not. We’re just ordinary
people doing an extraordinary job.

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