Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports
In 2022, Thailand made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the reporting period, the government amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act to allow for assets seized from human trafficking offenders to be used as financial remedies for survivors of trafficking, including children who were sexually exploited. In addition, it established the Child Sexual Exploitation Crime Center to help facilitate investigations of offenses related to child pornography. The government also established the Migrant Education Coordination Center to coordinate with Migrant Learning Centers on education, protection, and health of migrant children. Moreover, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports initiated the Child Friendly Tourism project by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with 21 government agencies, private sector organizations, and non-governmental organizations to develop measures to reduce commercial sexual exploitation of children in the tourism sector. Finally, the government drafted and approved the fifth National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2023–2027) in coordination with relevant public and private organizations across government and civil society. However, children in Thailand are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Although the government made meaningful efforts in all relevant areas during the reporting period, it does not meet the international standard for the minimum age for work because the law does not grant protections to children working outside of formal employment relationships. Moreover, there is a lack of available research and data on the prevalence of child labor in high-risk sectors, such as agriculture, garment manufacturing, domestic work, and construction.
Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Thailand.
|Working (% and population)||5 to 14||13.0 (1,302,267)|
|Attending School (%)||5 to 14||96.3|
|Combining Work and School (%)||7 to 14||14.4|
|Primary Completion Rate (%)||94.8|
Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2021, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2023. (1)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3 (MICS 3), 2005–2006. (2)
Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.
|Agriculture||Processing shrimp and seafood† (3-6)|
|Fishing, including work performed in fisheries and on sea vessels† (3,7-9)|
|Planting and harvesting sugarcane (4)|
|Producing rubber (6,10)|
|Industry||Manufacturing, including garment production (3,9)|
|Working in poultry factories and working on pig farms (11,12)|
|Construction, including transporting cement and bricks (3,4,6,11,13,14)|
|Services||Domestic work (10,15,16)|
|Work in restaurants, motor vehicle repair shops, and gas stations (4,6,17,18)|
|Street work, including begging and vending (3,6,8,9,11,15,16)|
|Muay Thai fighting (3,9,11,19-30)|
|Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡||Commercial sexual exploitation, including use in the production of pornography, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (3,6,8,9,15,17,31-33)|
|Forced labor in vending, begging, and domestic work (3,9,11,15,32)|
|Forced labor in the production of garments, agriculture, and in shrimp and seafood processing (3,6)|
|Forced labor in fishing, including fisheries (3,7,9,34,35)|
|Use in the production and trafficking of drugs, including narcotics, amphetamines, kratom, and marijuana (3,6,9,10)|
† Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.
A widespread migrant labor shortage, coupled with increased migration between Burma and Thailand due to the 2021 Burma military coup, resulted in increased numbers of underage migrant children engaging in child labor. There have also been increased instances of recruitment agencies falsifying ages on official documents. (16,36,37) Children working in agriculture face health risks from lifting heavy loads, risk injury from operating dangerous machinery and using sharp equipment, and are exposed to pesticides, sun and heat, and work long hours from very early in the morning until nighttime. (9,11) In addition, Thai and migrant children who accompany their parents working in the construction sector are exposed to child labor at and around construction sites, including performing construction work or working as caretakers for younger children or as housekeepers, and are not always enrolled in school. (3,9,13,14,38)
Children also participate in Muay Thai competitions, an area of work in which there is evidence of serious head injuries. Children receive remuneration in the form of prize money or wages, and research found that betting and illegal gambling on the outcome of children’s matches occurs often during Muay Thai competitions. In addition, an increased number of children are reported to be exploited in forced labor and forced criminality in online scamming operations in Chinese-owned Special Economic Zones in neighboring countries. (16) Thai children and children from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in Thai massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels, and private residences. Children are also increasingly being coerced into producing pornography and performing sexual acts through online social media platforms and private chat rooms. (3,8,9,15,17,32,16) Perpetrators engaging in commercial sexual exploitation of children attempt to avoid law enforcement by arranging appointments in private residences, randomly changing venues, and paying children directly. The Thai government reported that some former child sex trafficking victims have become recruiters and traffickers themselves. (9) Several teachers and child welfare workers were found to be exploiting children in commercial sexual exploitation. (39,40) Moreover, some children in the south of Thailand were recruited into non-state armed groups. (16,41)
Thai law provides for 12 years of free education for all children in Thailand. (6,16,42) However, language barriers prevent some children, particularly migrants and ethnic minorities, from accessing basic education as public school instruction and school applications are only available in Thai. (3,16,43,44) Although children without identity documents or a registered address cannot legally be denied enrollment in public schools, research found that there is a lack of clarity among school officials regarding the type of documentation that non-Thai students need to possess to enroll in school, which may be a barrier to education access. (16,45) Some migrant and refugee communities formed unofficial educational learning centers, including Migrant Learning Centers (MLCs), to provide children with native-language education, and in some cases provide an educational alternative to migrant children who either had difficulty enrolling in school or could not access Thai schools due to lack of proximity. However, there were reports of immigration police visiting MLCs to verify the legal status of migrant teachers and workers. (16,46) This practice intimidated some migrant children and their families and resulted in reduced attendance of children at MLCs, as some parents may not have legal permits to work in Thailand. (16) Children identifying as LGBTQI+ and those experiencing poverty, drug addiction, family problems, and teen pregnancy, may have additional barriers to education access due to increased harassment and bullying, which may increase their risk of dropping out of school and engaging in child labor. (11,47,48)
Thailand has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).
|ILO C. 138, Minimum Age||✓|
|ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor||✓|
|UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict||✓|
|UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography||✓|
|Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons||✓|
The government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Thailand's legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including not meeting the international standard for the minimum age for work.
|Standard||Meets International Standards||Age||Legislation|
|Minimum Age for Work||No||15||Sections 5, 44, and and 148/1 of the Labor Protection Act (49)|
|Minimum Age for Hazardous Work||Yes||18||Sections 22, 47, 49, 50, 144, and 148/2 of the Labor Protection Act; Sections 26 and 78 of the Child Protection Act; Sections 20 and 45 of the Home Workers Protection Act (49,50,51)|
|Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children||Yes||Chapter 4, Sections 49 and 50 of the Labor Protection Act; Clause 4 of the Ministerial Regulation concerning Labor Protection in Sea Fishery Work; Clause 2 of the Ministerial Regulation Identifying Tasks that may be Hazardous to the Health and Safety of Pregnant Women or Children Under the Age of Fifteen Years (52,53,54)|
|Prohibition of Forced Labor||Yes||Sections 312 and 312 bis of the Penal Code; Section 4 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; Sections 6 and 8 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (No. 3); Sections 4, 5, 7, and 8 of the Royal Decree Amendments of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (55-58)|
|Prohibition of Child Trafficking||Yes||Sections 282, 283, and 285 of the Penal Code; Sections 4 and 6 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (No. 3) (55,56)|
|Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children||Yes||Sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act; Section 4 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; Sections 6 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (No. 3); Sections 4 and 8 of the Royal Decree Amendments of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; Sections 282, 283, 285, and 286 of the Penal Code; Section 26 of the Child Protection Act; Amendment to the Penal Code Act No. 25 (50,55-59)|
|Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities||Yes||Sections 4 and 26(5) of the Child Protection Act; Section 93 and 93/2 of the Narcotics Act; Section 84 of the Penal Code; Section 22 of the Beggar Control Act (50,60-62)|
|Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment||Yes||18||Section 25 of the Military Service Act (63)|
|Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military||Yes||Section 16 of the Military Service Act (63)|
|Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups||No|
|Compulsory Education Age||Yes||16||Section 17 of the National Education Act (42)|
|Free Public Education||Yes||Section 10 of the National Education Act; Section 54 of the Thai Constitution (42,64)|
During the reporting period, the Anti-Money Laundering Act was amended to allow for assets seized from human trafficking offenders to be used as financial remedies for trafficking victims, including children who were sexually exploited. (65,66) Moreover, a ministerial regulation was issued to allow for prosecution of child pornography crimes under The Special Case Investigation Act, enabling child pornography cases to be investigated more quickly. (16,67,68)
However, the minimum age for work in Thailand does not comply with international standards because the law does not grant protections to children working outside of employment relationships. In addition, because the minimum age for work is lower than the compulsory education age, and the law does not require 15-year-olds to complete compulsory schooling before seeking work, some children may leave school before the completion of compulsory education. (42,52,69) Moreover, although Thailand has identified fishing on sea vessels as a form of hazardous labor—and research indicates that there is inadequate oversight of fishing vessels—the government implemented an amendment in 2022 to the Ministerial Regulation on Protection of Fishery Work 2014 to allow owners of fishing boats to employ a relative as young as age 16 as an intern. (9,16,70,71)
The government has established relevant institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5).
|Organization/Agency||Role & Activities|
|Department of Labor Protection and Welfare (DLPW) of the Ministry of Labor (MOL)||Enforces child labor laws through workplace inspections. (10) Operates Hotline 1506 and staffs DLPW offices in each province in Thailand to answer questions about working conditions and receive child labor complaints from the public. (3,43,71) During the reporting period, DLPW’s Call Center received 201 complaints related to violations of child labor laws, and labor inspectors filed 28 cases against 48 offenders for child labor law violations. Moreover, DLPW developed standard operating procedures for labor inspectors across government agencies on identifying indicators of forced labor and trafficking in persons and using referral mechanisms. (16) In addition, DLPW carried out labor inspections for labor violations, including child labor, of 12,810 fishing vessels with the Department of Fisheries, Marine Department, and Department of Employment at Port-In-Port-Out centers. (16) During the reporting period, the DLPW also implemented trainings with NGOs for migrant workers in garment and textile manufacturing, construction, and agriculture on labor rights and child labor laws. (16) Moreover, the government conducted 17 trainings and projects in 2022 to build and strengthen capacity of labor inspectors, government officials, and NGOs on labor inspection, protection, and prevention. (16,72)|
|Royal Thai Police (RTP)||Operates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD), the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (TICAC), and the Child Women Protection, Anti-Human Trafficking, and Fishery Industry Center (CWP). (16,36,73) ATPD enforces laws related to forced labor, human trafficking, child pornography, and commercial sexual exploitation of children, and operates Hotline 1191 to receive complaints on human trafficking and violence against children. (71) TICAC, which includes representatives from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), social workers, and NGOs, investigates and enforces laws against child trafficking and online commercial sexual exploitation of children, including the distribution and production of child pornography. (3,6,8,9,32,38,74) CWP is responsible for protecting children, young people, women, and laborers from human rights violations at both the national and international levels. (36,73) During the reporting period, the RTP established two child-friendly interviewing rooms, including for interviewing children involved in forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation, and conducted three study trips to the U.S. focused on cybercrime laws related to child-exploitation, child advocacy centers as support mechanisms for investigations, and cyber forensics for collection of electronic evidence. (36,37) TICAC investigated 578 potential offenses and initiated a total of 482 cases, which included 41 child trafficking cases, 164 child sexual exploitation cases, and 265 child pornography possession cases. (16) TICAC also conducted a training workshop on digital forensic investigations and evidence collection for 220 TICAC and police officers. (36) Moreover, TICAC and the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit launched a new website that serves as an official complaint channel for victims of sexual exploitation. (16) In addition, CWP produced four animated videos on preventing child exploitation, designed with inputs from human trafficking survivors, and shared them on social media and in schools. (36) RTP also received reports of 91 cases in which children were used, provided, or offered for prostitution and identified pornographic performances and materials involving 87 child victims. (16) Moreover, in 2022, 1,942 police investigators and administrators were trained on policies, laws, and techniques to conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions related to the worst forms of child labor and human trafficking crimes. (15,16,36)|
Labor Law Enforcement
In 2022, labor law enforcement agencies in Thailand took actions to address child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the operations of enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including a lack of inspections in informal sectors and in sectors primarily employing migrant populations.
|Overview of Labor Law Enforcement||2021||2022|
|Labor Inspectorate Funding||$1,006,683 (9)||$976,150 (72)|
|Number of Labor Inspectors||1,889 (6)||1,720 (72)|
|Mechanism to Assess Civil Penalties||Yes (52)||Yes (52)|
|Training for Labor Inspectors Provided||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Number of Labor Inspections Conducted at Worksite||22,890 (6)||17,822 (72)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations Found||31 (6)||28 (72)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed||13 (6)||7 (72)|
|Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected||Unknown (6)||7 (72)|
|Routine Inspections Conducted||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Routine Inspections Targeted||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Unannounced Inspections Permitted||Yes (52)||Yes (52)|
|Unannounced Inspections Conducted||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Complaint Mechanism Exists||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
In addition to the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare's (DLPW) 1,720 labor inspectors, the government employs 973 inspectors through the Royal Thai Police (RTP), Department of Fisheries, Ministry of the Interior and other agencies. (72) However, research finds that inspections conducted on fishing vessels, a sector with well-documented instances of labor abuses in Thailand, are inadequate to identify child and adult victims, with reports that some interpreters accompanying inspectors were instructed to not translate grievances of migrant workers relayed during inspections on fishing vessels, potentially compromising the effectiveness of inspections, including of child labor. (9,16,70,71) In addition, there are anecdotal reports of child labor inspections in informal sectors being insufficient due to labor inspectors' inability to access remote work places and safety concerns for inspectors. (9,11) Research also finds that some labor inspectors intentionally overlook instances of child labor among migrant children due to fear of reprisal from business owners and local politicians and authorities. (16)
Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2022, criminal law enforcement agencies in Thailand took actions to address child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist within the operations of the criminal enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including lack of training for criminal investigators.
|Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement||2021||2022|
|Training for Criminal Investigators Provided||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
|Number of Investigations||39 (6)||99 (75)|
|Number of Prosecutions Initiated||30 (6)||77 (75)|
|Number of Convictions||Unknown (6)||96 (75)|
|Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor||Yes (6)||Yes (75)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services||Yes (6)||Yes (72)|
During the reporting period, the Office of the Attorney General created a new curriculum and training for prosecutors and multidisciplinary teams on protecting children's rights in child sexual exploitation and abuse cases, prosecuting cases related to production and distribution of online child sexual exploitation materials, and on forensic interviewing, including for cases related to child trafficking. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) also established the Child Sexual Exploitation Crime Center to help facilitate the effectiveness of investigations of special cases of offenses related to child pornographic materials and established the Complicit Officials in Human Trafficking Monitoring and Investigation Center. (16,36) Moreover, the government displayed a video in Thai airports and on Thai airline flights discouraging commercial sexual exploitation of children during travel and coordinated with foreign governments to deny entry to known sex offenders. (15) In 2022, the government identified 29 boys and 125 girls as survivors of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. (36) The Thai Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection also reported 4,885 cases of children involved in the production and trade of narcotics. Child victims involved in criminal activities were taken to Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection facilities, where they received rehabilitation services and other social services during the judicial process. (9,16)
Though the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) began implementation of the National Referral Mechanism in 2022, implementation among officials and multidisciplinary teams was uneven in practice, particularly at the local levels. (16,36) Moreover, there were reports that human trafficking may be underreported due to inconsistencies in the identification process and enforcement training gaps, including understanding the gravity of human trafficking crimes and victim identification training amongst police, prosecutors, and judges. (8,15,76,77) This includes a lack of understanding of the use of male children in commercial sexual exploitation among some provincial government and court officials due to the notion that boys should be able to defend themselves against perpetrators. (12,32)
The government has established a key mechanism to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8).
|Coordinating Body||Role & Activities|
|National Committee to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor||Coordinates the implementation of child labor policies, facilitates cooperation among relevant ministries, and reports annually to the Thai Cabinet on child labor issues. Chaired by MOL, with representation from other government agencies, employer and worker associations, and civil society groups. (6,9) Responsible for monitoring the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor. (6) Held one committee meeting and two subcommittee meetings during the reporting period to review a framework and guidelines to prevent and address child labor in the shrimp, fish, sugarcane, and garment industries. (16,72)|
The Thailand Anti-Trafficking in Persons Task Force, comprising police officers, social workers, and NGO representatives, also coordinates investigations and enforces laws against human trafficking, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation of children. (3,43) In addition, the Committee on National and Provincial Committees on Child Protection held four meetings, developed plans to survey vulnerable children, and approved a national action plan on Alternative Care for Children (2022–2026) during the reporting period. Further, in coordination with NGOs, the government established the Committee on Anti‐Human Trafficking and Children's Rights in Mae Sot to support monitoring of child labor and child trafficking. (16)
The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including a lack of implementation of certain policies.
|Policy||Description & Activities|
|National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor Phase III (2021–2022)||Sought to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Thailand in accordance with international labor standards. Focused on (1) preventing the worst forms of child labor, (2) rescuing, protecting, and rehabilitating children from the worst forms of child labor, (3) integrating systems and mechanisms for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, and (4) communicating with the public. (6) During the reporting period, the fourth action plan was developed in coordination with relevant public and private organizations from government and civil society and was approved for 2023–2027. (16) Moreover, visits to 17 businesses in the sugarcane, garment, shrimp and seafood processing sectors were conducted to collect information on labor and manufacturing processes as part of the “Prevention and Correction of Child and Forced Labor" Memorandum of Understanding. (72)|
|Cyber Tipline Remote Access Policy||Seeks to eliminate online sexual exploitation of children in Thailand by partnering with the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Supports TICAC by permitting the RTP to request warrants to search residences and electronic equipment for child pornography materials and initiate criminal prosecutions. (6) In 2022, TICAC investigated 9,669 tips from the Cyber Tipline. A total of 433 offenders were arrested and 431 survivors were removed from exploitation. (16)|
|National Strategic Plan (2018–2037)||Seeks to improve education access, particularly for vulnerable and poor children in remote areas, by increasing transportation to school, reforming the school subsidy program for poor families, and providing scholarships for children who stay in school. (3,6,16,80) Research could not determine what activities were undertaken during the reporting period.|
‡ The government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor. (72)
In 2022, the government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including the inadequacy of programs to address the problem in all sectors.
|Program||Description & Activities|
|Centers to Promote Child Advocacy and for Victims of Trafficking and Migrants†||Migrant Learning Centers (MLCs) are NGO- and government-operated centers that provide basic education, life skills training, and vocational training to children in migrant communities along Thailand's borders. (3,6,9,43) While access to education for migrant children has increased, most MLCs lack accreditation. (3,38) Moreover, MLCs are not accessible to all migrant children located in Thailand due to limited geographic coverage of MLCs. The government reported 65 registered MLCs supporting 10,808 students were in operation in 2022. (16,72) In addition, the Migrant Educational Coordination Center was created to improve access to education for migrant children, support increased coordination of MLCs, and develop the capacity of teachers in MLCs. (16,81) Moreover, Child Advocacy Centers are RTP-operated child-friendly spaces to conduct social, legal (including forensic interviews), and repatriation services to children who are survivors or vulnerable to human trafficking, including children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. (6,16,34,82,83) In 2022, the four Child Advocacy Centers assisted 76 child victims during the investigation process of 43 cases and provided counselling services to children 1,495 times. Finally, Operation Centers for Protection of Rights relating to Human Trafficking Cases were opened in two border provinces that are known to be hotspots for human trafficking. (16)|
|Programs to Address the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children*†||The Ministry of Tourism and Sports initiated the Child Friendly Tourism project by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with 21 government agencies, private sector organizations, and NGOs to develop measures to prevent and reduce commercial sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. (16,36) Moreover, the Thailand Safe Internet Coalition, a partnership led by MSDHS, UNICEF, and Thai telecommunications companies and internet service providers, was formed to strengthen reporting of online abuse, enhance coordination, improve service provision for survivors, and increase awareness of children, young people, and parents to online risks. (16,84)|
|Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) Programs†||Implements anti-trafficking activities, including those involving forced child labor, child trafficking, and commercial sexual exploitation, through the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD). Organizes trainings and enforces child protection and human trafficking laws through collaboration with the RTP, DSI, DLPW, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (3,6,9,15,32,50,82) Oversees Hotline 1300, which receives human trafficking and child labor complaints. Operates 77 temporary shelters, with one located in every province, and 9 long-term shelters for human trafficking survivors, including a shelter dedicated solely to boys. (9,16,32) Monitors 76 Provincial Operation Centers for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking. Provides assistance and welfare protection to survivors of human trafficking. (6) Acts as the Secretariat for both the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee and the Coordinating and Monitoring of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee. (9,32) During the reporting period, MSDHS began implementation of a new National Referral Mechanism (NRM) that provided officials with a framework for identifying and referring potential survivors of human trafficking to appropriate support mechanisms. Training workshops were held with law enforcement entities, labor inspection officers, multidisciplinary teams and other government agencies to support the NRM's adoption. (16) In addition, MSDHS, RTP, the Court of Justice, and NGOs held a series of meetings with human trafficking survivors to create and publish guidelines on identifying victims of online sexual exploitation. (16) In 2022, 115 child survivors of the worst forms of child labor stayed in MSDHS's temporary shelters. (16,78) However, research found that temporary shelters for trafficking survivors managed by MSDHS employed inconsistent policies and provision of care to victims, including a lack of psychologists and staff trained on trauma-informed care. (15)|
For information about USDOL’s projects to address child labor around the world, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/ilab-project-page-search
* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Thailand.
‡ The government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor. (9,71,72,87)
The lack of available research and data on the prevalence of child labor in high-risk sectors, such as agriculture, garment manufacturing, domestic work, and construction, makes it difficult for the Government of Thailand to design appropriate programs to address these issues. (3,38)
Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Thailand (Table 11).
|Area||Suggested Action||Year(s) Suggested|
|Legal Framework||Ensure that the minimum age for work applies to children working outside of employment relationships.||2017 – 2022|
|Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the recruitment of children under age 18 by non-state armed groups.||2016 – 2022|
|Raise the minimum age for work from 15 to 16 to align with the compulsory education age.||2018 – 2022|
|Ensure that the hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children are comprehensive and include sectors in which child labor is known to occur, including paid participation in Muay Thai, in which there is evidence that children are exposed to physical dangers.||2018 – 2022|
|Ensure that fishing vessels employing children under age 18 to work as apprentices are fully complying with the protections required in the Ministerial Regulation on Protection of Fishery Work.||2022|
|Enforcement||Ensure provincial government and court officials are provided adequate training on human trafficking issues—specifically in addressing cases of male children in commercial sexual exploitation—to afford boys the same protections and victim assistance as girls.||2018 – 2022|
|Ensure law enforcement officials report and investigate all suspected human trafficking incidences.||2019 – 2022|
|Ensure that children are not engaging in child labor due to shortages in labor, especially migrant children in the fishing and manufacturing industries.||2022|
|Ensure labor inspectors are provided training and resources necessary to conduct inspections at remote informal sector workplaces, including in agriculture and domestic work.||2019 – 2022|
|Provide interpretation services that enable labor inspectors to meaningfully interview foreign workers and ensure independence of the labor inspectorate from outside interests.||2022|
|Ensure proper training and full implementation of the National Referral Mechanism for officials and multidisciplinary teams, including at the local levels.||2022|
|Government Policies||Publish activities undertaken to implement key policies related to child labor, including the National Strategic Plan (2018–2037).||2021 – 2022|
|Social Programs||Improve access to education, especially for ethnic minority and migrant children, including by clarifying to school officials the necessary documents non-Thai students need to submit for enrollment, raising awareness of migrant children's right to education, addressing language barriers for non-Thai speaking students, including on public school applications, and ensuring Migrant Learning Centers are accredited.||2012 – 2022|
|Conduct child labor prevalence surveys to ensure that there are sufficient social programs to address exploitation of children in the agriculture, garment manufacturing, domestic work, and construction sectors.||2016 – 2022|
|Ensure that there are sufficient social programs to assist children from vulnerable groups, such as migrant children and LGBTQI+ children, who are at high risk of child labor.||2016 – 2022|
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed: March 15, 2023. For more information, please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.
- ILO. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3 (MICS 3), 2005–2006. Analysis received March 2023. Please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. January 16, 2020.
- ILO CEACR. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Thailand (ratification: 2004). Published: 2021.
- ILO. Ship to Shore Rights: Baseline research findings on fishers and seafood workers in Thailand. 2018.
- Government of Thailand. Thailand's Progress on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: 2021. Bangkok. 2022. Source on file.
- Human Rights Watch. Hidden Chains: Rights Abuses and Forced Labor in Thailand's Fishing Industry. Human Rights Watch, January 23, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. February 26, 2021.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. February 23, 2022.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. January 25, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. March 2, 2021.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. July 8, 2020.
- UNICEF. Building Futures in Thailand: Support to children living in construction site camps. 2018. Source on file.
- Chandran, Rina. Migrant construction workers' children in Thailand exposed to violence: U.N. Reuters, March 29, 2018.
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2022: Thailand. Washington, D.C., July 19, 2022.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. February 2, 2023.
- Wongsamuth, Nanchanok. Look, don't touch: Thai bars raided for trafficking child 'entertainers'. Thomson Reuters Foundation, September 25, 2019.
- Wongsamuth, Nanchanok. Record number of trafficking victims in Thailand raises concerns over care. Thomson Reuters Foundation, January 6, 2020.
- Solomon, Ben C. 'Destroying our children for sport': Thailand may limit underage boxing. The New York Times, December 23, 2018.
- Chetchotiros, Nattaya. One Head Punch Too Many. Bangkok Post, November 18, 2018.
- Olarn, Kocha, et al. Death of 13-year-old fuels debate over Muay Thai kickboxing competitions. CNN, November 15, 2018.
- Wongcha-um, Panu and Panarat Thepgumpanat. Death of Thai boy inflames debate on Muay Thai's young dreamers. Reuters, November 13, 2018.
- The Nation. Govt officials seek to lay criminal charges following boy's Muay Thai death. The Nation, November 20, 2018.
- Bengali, Shashank. Young Thai boxer looks like a lollipop, stings like a bee. The Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2019.
- Cornish, Dean. After the death of a child Muay Thai fighter, Thailand struggles to change. SBS, May 21, 2019.
- Panyasupakun, Kornrawee. International organisations join fight against child boxing. The Nation, December 5, 2018.
- Power, Julie, and Kate Geraghty. Inside Muay Thai: Where culture and children's well-being collide. The Sydney Morning Herald, November 24, 2018.
- The Economist. Despite a tragedy, children continue to compete in Thai boxing bouts. The Economist, January 30, 2020.
- Krausz, Tibor. The biggest fight Thailand’s female Muay Thai boxers face is the one against sexism. South China Morning Post, August 1, 2020.
- Thepphajorn, Khanittha. Revamped muay thai rules go back to Cabinet. The Nation, October 19, 2018.
- Chandran, Rina. In Thai tourist spots, a hidden world of male sex slavery. Reuters, June 13, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. February 24, 2020.
- ILO CEACR. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Thailand (ratification: 2001). Published: 2021.
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2021: Thailand. Washington, D.C., July 1, 2021.
- ILO. Ship to shore rights: Endline research findings on fishers and seafood workers in Thailand. March 10, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. March 23, 2023.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 4, 2023.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. July 12, 2019.
- Ngamkham, Wassayos. Several teachers among arrests in underage sex case. Bangkok Post, July 26, 2022.
- Bangkok Post. Youth Dept Chief Tied to Sex Trafficking Ring. May 6, 2022.
- Human Rights Watch. World Report 2023: Thailand. N.D.
- Government of Thailand. National Education Act. Enacted: 1999. Source on file.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. January 29, 2019.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 27, 2018.
- Save the Children. Education. Accessed: March 27, 2023.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 28, 2023.
- Olivier, Sophie, and Orasa Thurasukarn. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) Youth in Thailand. Save the Children, June 6, 2018.
- PLoS One. Social violence among Thai gender role conforming and non-conforming secondary school students: Types, prevalence and correlates. August 14, 2020.
- Government of Thailand. Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (Amended). Department of Labour Protection and Welfare Labor Protection Division. August 1, 2020. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Child Protection Act. Enacted: 2003.
- Government of Thailand. Home Workers Protection Act (2010). Accessed July 12, 2019.
- Government of Thailand. Labour Protection Act. Enacted: 1998.
- Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation concerning Labour Protection in Sea Fishery Work B.E. 2557. Enacted: 2014. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation Identifying Tasks that may be Hazardous to the Health and Safety of Pregnant Women or Children Under the Age of Fifteen Years. Enacted: May 2, 2017.
- Government of Thailand. Penal Code. Enacted: November 13, 1956.
- Government of Thailand. Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Enacted: January 30, 2008.
- Government of Thailand. Royal decree Amendment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (2008). 2019.
- Government of Thailand. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (No. 3) B.E. 2560 (2017). Adopted: January 26, 2017.
- Government of Thailand. Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act. Enacted: October 14, 1996. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Narcotics Act. Enacted: April 22, 1979.
http://www.asean.org/storage/images/archive/Narcotics Act B.E. 2552 (1979) - Thailand.doc
- Government of Thailand. Amendment to the Penal Code No. 25, Amending the Penal Code. Enacted: April 8, 2016. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Control of Begging Act. Enacted: April 26, 2016.
- Government of Thailand. Military Services Act. Enacted: 1954. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Constitution. 2017.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 15, 2023.
- Government of Thailand. Amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (No. 6), B.E. 2565. Adopted: October 25, 2022. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation Prescribing Additional Special Cases Under the Law on Special Cases. Adopted: January 18, 2023. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. The Special Case Investigation Act BE 2547 (Amended BE 2551). Adopted: January 18, 2004. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. Amendment to the Labour Protection Act (No. 5), B.E. 2560. Adopted: January 23, 2017.
- Wongsamuth, Nanchanok. New law to protect Thai fishermen seen boosting child labour. Thomson Reuters Foundation, September 17, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 3, 2020.
- Government of Thailand. Thailand's Progress on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: 2022. Bangkok, December 2022. Source on file.
- Royal Thai Police - Child Woman Protection Anti-Human Trafficking and Fishery Center. About us. Accessed March 28, 2023.
- Government of Thailand. Report on Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts (1 January–31 December 2020). December 2020.
- Government of Thailand. E-mail communication to USDOS official. March 17, 2023.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 16, 2021.
- Wongsamuth, Nanchanok. Thailand to improve police training to tackle human trafficking nationwide. Thompson Reuters Foundation, July 30, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 23, 2022.
- Government of Thailand. Thailand's Progress on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: 2016. Bangkok, February 10, 2017. Source on file.
- Government of Thailand. National Strategy 2018–2037. Accessed January 27, 2020.
- Migrant Educational Coordination Center. Mission. Government of Thailand. Accessed: March 27, 2023.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. March 8, 2019.
- U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. Reporting. February 26, 2018.
- UNICEF. Thai Government and leading internet service providers pledge for child online safety, as risks of online harm rise. December 2, 2022.
https://www.unicef.org/thailand/press-releases/thai-government-and-leading-internet-service-providers-pledge-child-online-safety#:~:text=Founded from a holistic, child,and parents to cope with
- Chantanusornsiri, Wichit. Millions more welfare cards delivered. Bangkok Post, June 25, 2019.