Military:  THAILAND

Military branches:

Royal Thai Army (Kongthap Bok Thai, RTA), Royal Thai Navy (Kongthap Ruea Thai, RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Kongthap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation:

21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males register at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2012)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 17,689,921

females age 16-49: 17,754,795 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 13,308,372

females age 16-49: 14,182,567 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 533,424

female: 509,780 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

country comparison to the world: 81

Transnational Issues:  THAILAND

Disputes - international:

separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Malay-Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem insurgent activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand; 140,000 mostly Karen refugees fleeing civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation in Burma live in remote camps in Thailand near the border

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 83,317 (Burma) (2012)

IDPs: undetermined (resurgence in ethno-nationalist violence in south of country since 2004) (2011)

stateless persons: 506,197 (2012); note - about half of Thailand's northern hill tribe people do not have citizenship and make up the bulk of Thailand's stateless population; most lack documentation showing they or one of their parents were born in Thailand; children born to Burmese refugees are not eligible for Burmese or Thai citizenship and are stateless; most Chao Lay, maritime nomadic peoples, who travel from island to island in the Andaman Sea west of Thailand are also stateless; stateless Rohingya refugees from Burma are considered illegal migrants by Thai authorities and are detained in inhumane conditions or expelled; stateless persons are denied access to voting, property, education, employment, healthcare, and driving

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; victims, who are most often from neighboring countries, especially Burma, and also China, Vietnam, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Fiji, migrate to Thailand in search of economic opportunities but are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or commercial sexual exploitation; forced laborers are exploited in fishing, low-end garment production, domestic service, and some are forced to beg; some men forced to work on fishing boats have reportedly been kept at sea for years; sex trafficking of Thai and migrant children and sex tourism remain significant problems; Thailand is a transit country for victims from North Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Burma destined for exploitation in third countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the US, and Western European countries

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government investigated more trafficking-related cases but prosecuted and convicted fewer trafficking offender in 2012 than it did in the previous year; widespread corruption among law enforcement personnel creates an enabling environment for human trafficking; local authorities lack an awareness of the elements of trafficking and are deficient at identifying and protecting victims; weak law enforcement, inadequate human and financial resources, and fragmented coordination among regulatory agencies in the fishing industry contributes to overall impunity for exploitive labor practices in this sector; no labor recruitment companies have been punished for forced labor or trafficking allegations (2013)

Illicit drugs:

a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns