Ernie Weyand, FBI Assistant Legal Attaché, Bangkok
Special Agent Ernie Weyand talks about how the FBI is working to train the Royal Thai Police on having a more victim-centric approach to investigations involving child sex trafficking.
When I started in the FBI 20 years ago it was the part that was more or less—I don't want to say ignored—but we ran past the victim in many cases to work the case. And often times the victim was left in the wake. And it was about 10 or 15 years ago that we really moved to a victim-centered approach, where we started to provide appropriate resources to the victim in order to, throughout the investigative process, that they received proper notice, that they received appropriate care by law enforcement and law enforcement agencies.
Ultimately that made for better cases. It made all our cases better. It made our victims more whole. And in the outcome our victims were better at the end—they were better witnesses, they were more complete people, they weren’t someone who was harmed by the process and by being involved and actively involved in an investigation.
We’re all invested in improving what’s happening here in Thailand. There’s a real appetite among our Thai counterparts to do things right and help victims.
The ball is rolling in the right direction. I think we always would like it to roll faster and have a bigger ball that’s rolling. But it’s going And it’s an incremental progress but it’s something that will gain momentum and gain enthusiasm.
As we see more and more prosecutions we’ll see more victims coming forward. As the victim-centric approach takes hold and as victims gain more trust and confidence in the system, I think you’re going to see, like we did in the United States, a tremendous response and even a greater number of these cases being investigated and prosecuted and victims really feeling like they received justice through the process.
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