Two weeks ago on June 5, 2015, Thailand held its first Anti-Human Trafficking Day ceremony. The ceremony featured a discussion concerning the country’s problem with human trafficking and presented awards to journalists, police officers, and government officials who have assisted in exposing cases of human trafficking in the country.

Thailand’s reputation as a source, destination, and transit country for human trafficking has drawn the attention of the international community. Last summer, the U.S. State Department placed Thailand’s seafood imports on a blacklist in reaction to an assessment made evaluating the level of human trafficking that occurs within the country. Shortly after, the European Union threated to place a ban on all seafood imported from Thailand unless drastic changes to the country’s policies illegal and unregulated fishing were made.  According to the State Department’s Trafficking in Person Report (TIP) from 2014, a significant portion of labor trafficking victims within Thailand are exploited in fishing-related industries. The international response served as a stern warning, and presented an economic incentive for the Thai government to combat trafficking.

More recently, on May 5, 2015, thirty-six bodies were discovered near Thailand’s southern border with Malaysia at an abandoned trafficker camp. This incident has intensified international pressure on Thailand to make a change and work harder to stop smugglers.

The Thai government has taken legal steps to demonstrate its commitment to combating trafficking. According to the Associated Press, the junta-appointed legislature in Thailand has now passed a new anti-human trafficking law that orders more severe penalties, and human trafficking-related court cases will get a shortcut in the judicial system to prosecute suspects more quickly.

During the opening ceremony for Anti-Human Trafficking Day, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha demonstrated his intent as the country’s leader regarding human trafficking. “The government is focusing on preventing and suppressing human trafficking and is determined to get rid of men who sell men, so that they no longer have a place to stand on our soil — no matter how influential they are or if they are government officials,” said Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Thailand is moving in the right direction; however the country must be consistent with its law enforcement if Thailand hopes to be removed from the United States’ blacklist and avoid bans from the European Union.