On Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it will withdraw preferential tariffs for many imports from Thailand due to egregious, ongoing worker rights violations in the country. As highlighted in submissions by the AFL-CIO going back to 2013, the government of Thailand actively retaliates against workers and allows the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including forced labor, to proliferate throughout its economy.
Numerous reports document rampant forced labor in the fishing sector, however, extreme worker rights violations are present throughout the Thai economy, with both Thai workers and migrant workers facing repression and abuse. The government severely limits all workers’ ability to form and join unions, does not enforce collective bargaining and prevents workers from striking. The meager protections that do exist are not enforced.