The terms slavery, modern slavery and human trafficking are often used interchangeably although they have different definitions. This causes some misunderstanding and confusion. I recently read a comment in a local social media thread: “Slavery has been abolished in Thailand (Siam) by King Rama V and by the Slavery Act R.S. 124 (1905), and there is no slavery practice whatsoever in the country”.  When I first read the comment, I was agast! Then I realized that not everyone shares the same understanding of the subject. The purpose of this article is to try to shed some light. How can we ask people to help fight human trafficking/modern slavery if we don’t have a common understanding?  Gentle reader, may I suggest that you spend some time doing your own research?  Your findings may surprise, or even shock you!  Below are a few sources I have found and believe to be credible.
Your research may vary, and I’d welcome your feedback.  After all, while I am very passionate about the need to put an end to modern slavery/human trafficking, I am not an expert. 
*Slavery: the condition of being legally owned by someone else and forced to work for or obey them (notice that it suggests legal ownership).   Certainly by this definition slavery is illegal in Thailand and most countries.   That does not mean it’s been abolished!
*Modern Slavery: the condition of being forced by threats or violence to work for little or no pay, and having no power to control what work you do or where you do it:  Modern Slavery includes domestic slavery, forced sex work, and force participation in crime…
*Human Trafficking: the crime of buying and selling people or making money from work they are forced to do, such as sex work. 
From the American State Department website
‘ “Trafficking in persons,” “human trafficking,” and “modern slavery” are used as umbrella terms to refer to both sex trafficking and compelled labor. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-386), as amended (TVPA), and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Palermo Protocol) describe this compelled service using a number of different terms, including involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor’…
‘Human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement.  People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were exploited in their hometown, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked.  At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ aim to exploit and enslave their victims and the myriad coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so’.
There is a recording made by Gary Haugen, CEO of the International Justice mission at The Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) Website where he states that slavery is:
  1. More vast than ever,
  2. Just as brutal as ever,
  3. More stoppable than ever.
According to Walk Free it is estimated that over 400,000 people are living in modern slavery in Thailand. Walk Free has listed Guidance for Modern Slavery Risks for Thai Businesses  In part they wrote: “Walk Free is proud to partner with the Stock Exchange of Thailand and Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) to launch the first guidance to assist Thai-listed companies to identify, address and report on modern slavery risks throughout their value chain. “Modern slavery impacts every country and supply chain in the world. With annual profits from modern slavery and human trafficking estimated at US$ 150 billion in 2021, business leaders and investors must take action to ensure profits are not derived from the exploitation of vulnerable workers”.
In March of 2024 Thailand lead the first modern slavery conference in Southeast Asia.  It’s gratifying to note that the Thai government is actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Yes, it’s true that King Rama V outlawed slavery in Thailand.  It’s also true the President Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery in the United States of America in 1865.  Similar laws have been passed in almost every country in the world.  Yet it’s reported there are over 50 million people living in modern slavery, over 400,000 of them in Thailand.  Rather than trying to deny this ugly truth, perhaps it’s time to get involved. 
The RAGAS Mission Statement:  The Rotary Action Group Against Slavery is committed to connect, empower and equip Rotarians to engage their communities to eradicate all forms of Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking locally and around the globe.
The TRAGAST Mission Statement:  Enable and Assist our community to take action to eliminate human trafficking / modern slavery through awareness and specific projects, especially prevention.
Join us!
*Source is Cambridge Dictionary