The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Law enforcement and security cooperation form a pillar of the enduring U.S.-Thai alliance, built on the foundation of more than 200 years of bilateral relations. While the Thai government has taken steps to address structural gaps that limit the effectiveness of the criminal justice sector and promote participation in rule of law reform initiatives, challenges remain, including: the need for skills development for law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary; access to justice issues for citizens; and combating a series of transnational organized crime issues, including trafficking in persons, narcotics, and wildlife.
Goals: INL’s assistance programs aim to increase the Thai criminal justice system’s effectiveness through greater public trust in its institutions. INL’s bilateral program with Thailand also complements INL programs in the region, including through the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. ILEA Bangkok builds capacity throughout the region and promotes greater regional cooperation. Strengthening Thailand’s criminal justice system not only enhances regional security and stability, it also offers direct benefits to the United States by disrupting transnational criminal networks, combating narcotics, addressing human and wildlife trafficking, and thwarting terrorist networks.
Accomplishments: INL Thailand organizes, funds, and implements capacity-building activities that have benefited tens of thousands of participants in the last decade. These activities included training courses related to interdiction and investigation of narcotics trafficking, cybercrime, money laundering, post-blast investigations, crime-scene management, intellectual property crimes, trafficking in persons, border interdiction techniques, and forensic science. INL’s activities have had immediate concrete results as well as long-term institutional outcomes. Some highlights include:
- Since working with U.S. law enforcement agencies, Thai police have conducted numerous successful drug, human trafficking, wildlife trafficking, and child sexual exploitation investigations over the past several years.
- In 2020, Thai law enforcement officers who had received INL technical assistance played a major role in a large-scale operation that took down five drug trafficking networks with money laundering operations worth over $100 million.
- Following various INL-supported interventions to help Thailand improve its anti-money laundering (AML) regime, new AML legislation and regulations resulted in Thailand complying with important international standards to safeguard its financial systems against the financing of terrorism and the laundering of illicit gains.