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From the British Embassy Bangkok

British Embassy Bangkok and Ministry of Social Development & Human Security collaborate to improve handling of child protection and abduction

The Child Safeguarding in Thailand conference was held at the Sivatel Bangkok Hotel its aim to enhance the understanding of how UK and Thai officials can support each other to safeguard British children in Thailand. Training will develop the skills of social workers, with 2 UK qualified and registered social workers travelling to Bangkok to facilitate the training. They will focus on sharing best practice; legislative frameworks and operational protocols. Other key participants at the conference: Thai Social Services, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT)*

ECPAT is a children’s rights organisation that works with other children’s rights organisation, anti-trafficking NGOs, child protection agencies, communities and governments to protect children from trafficking and transnational exploitation. They support children everywhere to uphold their rights and to live a life free from abuse and exploitation. They also lobby governments to improve legislation, policy and practice to protect children; prevent child trafficking; and implement tougher action against those who abuse children.

International Social Services (ISS), Childline Thailand and university professors responsible for training undergraduate social workers. In the long-term, the anticipated result is for training to be expanded across regional offices in Thailand to enhance safeguarding operations.Childline provides services for any child under the age of 18. The foundation works with various governments and NGOs to safeguard the rights of every child as outlined by the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of a Child. Childline operates their own helplines for children in need who need direct assistance in comfort, help and emotional support immediately.

Deputy Head of Mission for the British Embassy Bangkok, Ms Margaret Tongue, said:

At the British Embassy, our responsibility is to ensure the safety of all British and dual national children. Every year the Consular team in Bangkok deal with nearly 50 child safeguarding cases and respond to over 1500 consular case per year, many of these include child safeguarding elements to them.The Child Safeguarding in Thailand Conference seeks to build on collaboration with Thai Social Services. We hope to enhance understanding of how UK and Thai officials can work together to safeguard children in Thailand.”

Director of Social Assistance Centre, Ms Darunee Manussavanish, said:

The professional collaboration between the British Embassy Bangkok and Social Assistance Centre is a successful partnership put into practice for our child safeguarding operation. The Embassy and Social Assistance Centre have organise monthly multi-disciplinary case conferences to achieve the ‘Best Interest of the Child’ principle.As the Director of Social Assistance Centre, I insist that we apply the Thai Child Protection Act 2003 as well as The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in all cases, together with the child-centre principle.”

Over 1 million British people travel to Thailand each year, with over 60,000 living as expatriates on a long term basis. According to an independent report commissioned by the UK government, Thailand is ranked in the top ten for child safeguarding cases. The UK government defines child safeguarding as protecting British children from harm, mitigating risks, supporting psychosocial development and ensuring that the child grows up with dignity. Since 2016, there have been 132 child-related cases at the Consular department of the British Embassy Bangkok: 30 cases were of a complex nature requiring long-term assistance. Of these cases, 85 cases related to child abuse and 24 cases related to international parental child abduction.