Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Thailand

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Thailand

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2015, Thailand made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government approved the second phase of the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor, which aims to eradicate child labor in Thailand by 2020, and includes a 3-year action plan toward the achievement of this goal. In an effort to strengthen criminal legislation against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the Government adopted an amendment to criminalize the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Additionally, the Government took steps to improve the investigation and prosecution process for human trafficking cases, including those related to child trafficking, by establishing a specialist anti-human trafficking division within the Criminal Court of Justice and a specialist department of prosecutors under the Office of the Attorney General. However, children in Thailand are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor in the shrimp and seafood processing sector and in commercial sexual exploitation. The Government continues to struggle to effectively enforce laws related to the worst forms of child labor, particularly in the fishing, agriculture, manufacturing, and home-based business sectors. Some children in Thailand face challenges in accessing education, which increases their vulnerability to the worst forms of child labor.

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Children in Thailand are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor in the shrimp and seafood processing sector and in commercial sexual exploitation.(1-5) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Thailand. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

13.0 (1,302,267)

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

96.3

Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%):

14.4

Primary completion rate (%):

Unavailable

Primary completion rate was unavailable from UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(6)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, 2005–2006.(7)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children’s work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children’s Work by Sector and Activity

Sector/Industry

Activity

Agriculture

Processing shrimp and seafood (5, 8-12)

Fishing,* including work performed on sea vessels*† (13)

Planting and harvesting sugarcane (14)

Production of rubber,* roses,* oranges,* and pineapples* (15, 16)

Industry

Manufacturing, including garment production (12, 17, 18)

Work in poultry factories* (19)

Construction, including carrying cement* and bricks* (9, 12, 20)

Services

Domestic work* (2, 21)

Muay Thai paid fighters (22-25)

Work in restaurants,* motorcycle repair shops,* and gas stations* (18, 26)

Street work, including begging and vending (2, 27, 28)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, including use in the production of pornography, sometimes as a result of human trafficking* (1-3, 28)

Forced labor in vending, begging, and domestic work,* each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (3, 4, 21, 27)

Forced labor in the production of garments, in raising livestock,* and in shrimp and seafood processing (4, 5, 29, 30)

Fishing as a result of human trafficking* (31, 32)

Use in armed conflict* (33-35)

* Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
† 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.

Children are trafficked to and within Thailand for commercial sexual exploitation and labor exploitation. Commercial sexual exploitation of children commonly occurs in establishments such as massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, and hotels, as well as in private residences.(36) Sources report that the majority of child sex trafficking victims are Thai, Lao, and Burmese nationals.(12, 34) Some trafficked children are forced to sell flowers and candy, beg on the streets, or work as domestic servants in Bangkok and other urban areas.(3, 21, 27)

During the year, ethno-nationalist separatist insurgency activity continued in Thailand’s four southernmost provinces. In recent years, there have been reports that separatist groups recruited children to commit acts of arson, serve as scouts or informants, and sometimes participate in combat.(3, 33, 35) Students, teachers, and other education personnel have been killed or wounded in the conflict, which has disrupted education in the region.(33, 37)

Child labor and forced child labor exist in the shrimp and seafood processing sector in coastal regions of the country.(4, 5, 9, 10) Research found that child laborers in the shrimp and seafood processing sector are twice as likely to incur an injury in the workplace as children in other industries, and 44 percent report that they lack personal protective equipment.(11)

Some children in Thailand, particularly migrants and ethnic minorities, face challenges in accessing education. Barriers to education include a lack of awareness of migrant children’s right to an education among local government officials and migrant families; language barriers, including class instruction, teaching materials, and school applications available only in Thai language; and the long distances children must travel to attend school.(2, 12, 30, 38, 39)

The Department of Labor Protection and Welfare (DLPW) reported that the National Statistical Office collected nationally representative data on working children, including child labor and hazardous work, in December 2015 as part of its regular labor force survey. The results and methodology had not been publicly released by the close of the 2015 reporting period.(12) In Thailand, generally, reporting and statistics on child labor often omit street children and migrant children.(2)

Thailand has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor

Convention

Ratification

ILO C. 138, Minimum Age

ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor

UN CRC

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, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Chapter 4, Section 44 of the Labor Protection Act (40)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Chapter 4, Sections 49–50 of the Labor Protection Act (40)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Chapter 4, Sections 49–50 of the Labor Protection Act; Clause 4 of the Ministerial Regulation concerning Labor Protection in Sea Fishery Work (40, 41)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Sections 312, and 312 bis of the Penal Code; Sections 4 and 6 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (42, 43)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 282–283 of the Penal Code; Section 6 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (12, 42, 43)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Section 8 of the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act; Section 6 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; Sections 282 and 285–287 of the Penal Code; Article 26 of the Child Protection Act; Amendment to the Penal Code Act No.24 (42-46)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Article 26 of the Child Protection Act; Section 93 of the Narcotics Act (45, 47)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

Yes

21

Section 25 of the Military Service Act (48)

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Military Service Act (48)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Section 17 of the National Education Act (49)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Section 10 of the National Education Act (49)

 

In 2015, the Government of Thailand adopted several new laws and regulations to strengthen its legal framework on the worst forms of child labor. The revised Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, enacted on April 29, 2015, amended the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons Act and permits the government to close a workplace and fine the offender where trafficking violations are found, and take other necessary measures to prevent the offense from occurring.(12, 50) On December 7, 2015, an amendment to the Penal Code took effect, which distinguishes between child and adult pornography and specifically criminalizes the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography.(12, 46) Also in 2015, the revised Regulation on Criminal Proceedings and Comparison to Offenders under the Labor Protection Act and the Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment Act took effect. Sources indicate that the regulation streamlines the criminal investigation process for child labor cases by allowing labor inspectors to file complaints directly with the police if they identify child laborers, particularly those working in the fishing and seafood industry or in seasonal agriculture.(34, 51)

On November 14, 2015, the Government enacted the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries. The ordinance requires all fishing vessels 10 tons or larger to undergo port in–port out inspections, in which the vessel’s owner or master must submit documentation of vessel registration, a fishing license, and employment contracts for all workers.(52) Owners must also demonstrate that an appropriate system is in place to ensure the occupational safety, hygiene, and well-being of the workers on board. The ordinance stipulates fines ranging from 400,000 to 800,000 baht for seafood processing facilities found to be violating the Labor Protection Act.(12, 52). In addition, in 2015, the Ministry of Labor drafted a ministerial regulation to prohibit employers from hiring children under age 18 to work in seafood processing factories and establishments, which went into effect in January 2016.(12, 53)

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Department of Labor Protection and Welfare (DLPW) of the Ministry of Labor (MOL)

Enforce labor laws, including the Labor Protection Act and Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment Act, through workplace inspections.(26) Operate Hotline 1546 to answer questions regarding working conditions and receive complaints from the public about child labor.(12, 56)

Fishing Coordination Centers (operated jointly by the Department of Employment, the DLPW, and the Marine Police)

Compile registration records and work permit information for migrants working on fishing vessels and work with vessel owners to ensure that undocumented migrant workers are registered. Monitor and coordinate inspections of working conditions on fishing vessels.(12) Provide trainings on labor protection for both employers and employees. Receive human trafficking complaints and coordinate with other agencies to provide assistance, remedy, and rehabilitation services for victims.(12)

Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing*

Coordinate Government efforts to resolve cases of human trafficking and illegal fishing. Establish 28 Port In–Port Out Centers and One-Stop Service Centers for fishing vessels in every coastal province.(12) Carry out inspections in the fishing and seafood industry at port, at sea, and on land. Verify the employment contracts, work permits, and identification documents of all workers on board fishing vessels on arrival and departure from port.(34) The Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Navy acts as commander and reports to the Prime Minister.(34) Agencies involved include the Royal Thai Navy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of the Interior, the MOL, and the Royal Thai Police.(34)

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division of the Royal Thai Police

Enforce laws related to forced labor, human trafficking, child pornography, and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. Operate Hotline 1191 to receive complaints regarding human trafficking and violence against children and women.(12)

Department of Special Investigations in the Ministry of Justice

Investigate complicated human trafficking crimes, including those related to government officials’ complicity and transnational or organized crime. (38, 57, 58)

Anti-Human Trafficking Department under the Office of the Attorney General*

Enforce laws against human trafficking crimes under the Criminal Code, Transnational Organized Crime Act, and Anti-Human Trafficking Act.(12) Investigate or co-investigate human trafficking offenses and issue reports in order to improve prosecution of trafficking in persons cases.(59)

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division under the Criminal Court of Justice*

Enforce the Anti-Human Trafficking Act.(12) Prosecute trafficking in persons cases, focusing specifically on sex trafficking, forced labor, slavery, and the illegal trade of human organs.(59)

* Agency responsible for child labor enforcement was created during the reporting period.

In 2015, the DLPW collaborated with 31 civil society, public, and private sector representatives to develop and distribute operational guidelines to inform the work of multidisciplinary inspection teams consisting of labor inspectors, police, and NGO representatives. The guidelines contain information on national child labor laws and international child labor standards.(12, 26)

On August 10, 2015, five government agencies signed an MOU aimed at increasing intergovernmental information-sharing on human trafficking cases and improving coordination on cases among prosecution and witness protection-focused agencies.(59) In addition, Thai immigration police worked to strengthen screening procedures for potential human trafficking victims among migrants and deportees, especially women and children, by establishing 16 identification centers along key migration routes.(34)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2015, labor law enforcement agencies in Thailand took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

$665,077 (55)

$690,844 (12)

Number of Labor Inspectors

594 (26)

592 (12)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Yes (55)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

Yes (12)

Yes (12)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

Number of Labor Inspections

39,185 (26)

42,606 (12)

Number Conducted at Worksite

39,185 (26)

42,606 (12)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

N/A (12)

N/A (12)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

20 (26)

67 (12, 30)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown

11 (12)

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

Unknown

11 (12)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (12)

Yes (12)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (12)

Yes (12)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (26)

Yes (12)

 

In addition to the DLPW labor inspectorate, 316 government officials from various agencies are authorized to inspect workplaces associated with seafood production.(12) According to the ILO’s recommendation of 1 inspector for every 15,000 workers in industrializing economies, Thailand should employ roughly 2,608 inspectors in order to adequately enforce labor laws throughout the country.(60-62) Acknowledging that the total number of inspectors is not sufficient, the DLPW submitted an official request in 2015 to the Office of Civil Service Commission to hire an additional 419 inspectors.(12) The DLPW provides 3 to 5 days of orientation for new labor inspectors, which includes limited instruction on laws related to child labor and human trafficking, as well as basic training on inspection and enforcement techniques.(55) During the year, labor inspectors and government officials in 22 coastal provinces also received training on child labor, hazardous child labor, and forced labor, with a focus on the protection of workers in the fisheries sector.(12)

During inspections, language barriers continue to limit the ability of labor inspectors to interview migrant workers, including working children. In 2015, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) took steps to address this issue by hiring 40 new interpreters to serve provinces with large populations of migrant workers.(12) However, there is still a shortage of interpreters due to budget limitations and laws that prevent the Government from recruiting interpreters who are not Thai nationals.(12) Interpreters may also lack training on national labor laws, the rights of migrant workers, and interviewing techniques for unbiased and accurate translation.(55)

Enforcement of the list of hazardous work prohibited for children is concentrated in the formal sector, despite the fact that an estimated 56 percent of the labor force are in informal sector employment.(38, 63) Under the Home Workers Protection Act, the DLPW has the authority to inspect home-based workplaces, but in practice, it is challenging for labor inspectors to safely access an individual’s property to monitor the welfare of child domestic workers or other children in home-based employment.(38, 64) Additionally, at times, labor inspectors are afraid of being sued by employers, as neither the law nor the institutional policies provide adequate protection or financial assistance to labor inspectors who are sued.(12, 26)

During the reporting period, the MOL increased efforts to inspect workplaces in the informal sector and found child labor violations in a variety of activities, including food and beverage services, construction, manufacturing, and seafood processing. As a result of inspections, 22 children were removed from unlawful employment.(12, 30)

There continued to be concerns that penalties for child labor violations are infrequently applied in accordance with the parameters prescribed by law.(12) In November 2015, the Permanent Secretary of Labor issued an administrative order calling for the maximum penalty rates prescribed in the Labor Protection Act to be applied for all law violations related to child labor, forced labor, and debt bondage.(12) Since the order was announced, there has been one case in which a labor inspector issued the maximum fine to an employer found using child labor on a fishing boat.(55)

Various government agencies operate hotlines to receive labor complaints, including those related to child labor. From January through November 2015, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security’s 24-hour 1300 hotline received 174 calls related to human trafficking and 4 related to child labor.(12) For callers who do not speak Thai, 85 trained volunteer interpreters are available to assist in 7 relevant languages. In addition, the DLPW maintains the 1546 hotline, with a staff of 21 interpreters and 3 full-time operators for English, Burmese, and Cambodian languages.(12, 30) In 2015, the 1546 hotline received 639 calls from individuals seeking to report child labor law violations or requesting information on child labor laws and regulations.(55)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Thailand took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Yes (12)

Yes (12)

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Yes (12)

Yes (12)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (29)

Yes (34)

Number of Investigations

2,663 (26, 29)

2,606‡ (12, 51)

Number of Violations Found

2,803 (26, 29)

2,587‡ (12, 34)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (12)

Unknown (12)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (12)

Unknown (12)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (26, 29)

Yes (12)

‡ Data are from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.

In 2015, the authorities responsible for enforcing criminal laws against the worst forms of child labor included approximately 400 police officials from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, 30 officials from the Department of Special Investigations, and 17 public prosecutors under the Office of the Attorney General.(12) The Government of Thailand provided anti-human trafficking training for roughly 2,640 officials, including police officers, prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors, social workers, and navy officials. Trainings topics included instruction on forced labor and debt bondage; the prevention of human trafficking, child labor, and forced labor in the fishing industry; and child-friendly investigation and referral procedures.(34)

Throughout the year, the Royal Thai Police conducted criminal investigations related to forced child labor, child trafficking, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including use in the production of pornography.(34) The Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection also investigated cases related to the use of children in the production and trafficking of drugs.(51) Public prosecutors prosecuted 242 individuals on trafficking in persons charges in 177 cases, and courts convicted 241 of these defendants in 2015. However, information is not available on how many of these prosecutions and convictions are specifically related to the trafficking of children.(30, 34)

During the reporting period, the Prime Minister issued the Administrative Measures to Prevent Public Officials’ Involvement in Human Trafficking, which establishes a procedure for heads of government agencies to monitor, report on, and take disciplinary action against officials who are complicit in human trafficking crimes.(34) In 2015, at least one official was convicted and sentenced for the trafficking of children.(30) However, there continued to be reports that some corrupt Thai officials are complicit in crimes related to child trafficking, with officials allegedly purchasing sex with underage girls or taking bribes to protect brothels and karaoke bars employing children.(3, 26, 34)

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

The National Committee to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Coordinate the implementation of child labor policies and plans, facilitate cooperation among various coordinating ministries, and report annually to the Thai Cabinet on child labor issues.(12) Chaired by the MOL, with representation from other government agencies, employer and worker associations, and civil society groups.(65) Oversee three subcommittees that monitored the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor Phase I (2009–2014); updated the list of hazardous activities prohibited for children under age 18; and developed the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor Phase II (2015–2020).(12) In 2015, convened three times and approved a situation report and recommendations for a plan of action on the worst forms of child labor.(12)

National Policy Committee on Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

Coordinate anti-trafficking in persons policies and activities and is chaired by the Prime Minister. Includes five subcommittees to drive policy, including the Subcommittee on Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Migrant Workers, chaired by the Minister of Labor.(12, 66) Also includes the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee and the Policy Committee on the Resolution of Migrant Labor and Human Trafficking Problems.(66)

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division

Coordinate anti-human trafficking activities, including those involving forced child labor, child trafficking, and commercial sexual exploitation. Located under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. Monitor the work of 76 Provincial Operation Centers for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking, which serve as the frontline implementers of anti-human trafficking activities.(12, 38) Formerly known as the National Operation Center.(12)

 

The Government of Thailand has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor Phase II (2015–2020)†

Establishes the goal of removing and preventing children from becoming involved in the worst forms of child labor by 2020. Contains a 3-year action plan that focuses on five strategic areas: (1) preventing the worst forms of child labor, (2) rescuing and protecting children from the worst forms of child labor, (3) developing and enforcing relevant laws, (4) enhancing interagency cooperation, and (5) developing management and monitoring systems.(12, 55) In 2015, Mahidol University finalized an MOL-commissioned evaluation of the first phase of the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor.(12, 55) Researchers found that Phase I helped to facilitate increased coordination among relevant organizations and government agencies, but that insufficient funding hindered the effective implementation of activities.(67) The MOL incorporated recommendations from this evaluation, as well as input received during a public hearing and consultation process, into Phase II.(12) Approved by the cabinet in December 2015, with implementation due to commence in 2016.(12)

The National Policy, Strategy, and Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (2011–2016)

Sets forth five strategies to address human trafficking, including prevention, prosecution, protection and assistance, policy development, and improved information management.(68)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) (2015)†

Establishes a regional anti-human trafficking framework among 10 ASEAN Member States, including Thailand, to improve coordination on the investigation and prosecution of trafficking in persons cases and the enhancement of assistance for victims. Unanimously adopted in June 2015, the Convention was signed by the relevant heads of state on November 21, 2015.(69, 70)

National Child and Youth Development Plan (2012–2016)*

Seeks to advance four principles: (1) the enforcement and implementation of the National Child and Youth Development Promotion Act and relevant laws; (2) the idea that every child and young person has the right to basic education of the highest quality; (3) the notion that children and youth have the right to basic health care services of the highest standard; and (4) the idea that children and youth have the right to play, rest, and participate in recreational activities.(71, 72)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.
† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

In 2015, the Government of Thailand funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

National and Provincial Operation Centers for Providing Assistance to Women and Child Laborers†

DLPW program that provides assistance to women and child laborers, and collects and disseminates information on the worst forms of child labor. Reports to the National Committee to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor.(73)

Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Shrimp and Seafood Processing Areas in Thailand (2010–2015)

$9 million USDOL-funded, 4.5-year project implemented by ILO-IPEC to eliminate child labor in the shrimp and seafood processing industry. Aimed to strengthen policy frameworks to protect the rights of Thai and migrant children, assist the shrimp and seafood processing industry to comply with labor laws, and provide education and other services to at-risk children and families in targeted areas.(74) A total of 5,412 children engaged in, or at high-risk of entering, child labor received educational or vocational services, and 3,535 households received livelihood services.(74, 75)

Government Shelters for Trafficking Victims†

Ministry of Social Development and Human Security program that operates 76 temporary shelters to provide emergency assistance and protection to human trafficking victims, including children.(34) Nine long-term shelters offer medical care, psychosocial services, education, and life skills education for human trafficking victims.(30, 34) As of November 2015, provided services to 198 child trafficking victims, including 71 children under the age of 15 and 127 children ages 15 to 18.(12)

Asia-Australia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2013–2018)

$45 million Australian Aid-funded, 5-year ASEAN regional and national-level project to build capacity and strengthen access to criminal justice for trafficking victims.(26) In Thailand, projects focus on creating specialized investigative units; increasing interagency cooperation among public prosecutors, police, and the Department of Special Investigations; creating a specialized unit on human trafficking in the Office of the Attorney General; and developing training curriculum for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.(26)

Migrant Learning Centers†

NGO-operated centers that provide basic education to children in migrant communities. Ministerial regulations under the National Education Act specify that these centers are permitted to operate and are eligible to receive government subsidies and accreditation.(12) As of February 2015, there were  approximately 95 migrant learning centers, with 17,161 students attending in Thailand.(12)

Child Support Grant (2015–2016)*†

Government pilot program that provides low-income parents or caretakers with a monthly stipend of approximately $11 (400 baht) per child for children ages 0 to 1 year old. Approximately 135,000 children are anticipated to benefit.(76, 77)

* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Thailand.

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Thailand (Table 11).

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Enforcement

Increase the number of labor inspectors responsible for enforcing laws related to child labor, especially in the informal sector, in order to provide adequate coverage of the workforce.

2015

Provide labor inspectors with the capacity to communicate in the languages of migrants or ethnic minorities during labor inspections.

2009 – 2015

Remove administrative barriers that impede inspections of home-based businesses.

2013 – 2015

Strengthen efforts to ensure that penalties applied for child labor violations adhere to the parameters prescribed by law.

2013 – 2015

Make information publicly available on the number of prosecutions and convictions for crimes involving the worst forms of child labor.

2015

Ensure that officials allegedly complicit in crimes related to the worst forms of child labor are prosecuted and convicted if found guilty.

2015

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the National Child and Youth Development Plan.

2013 – 2015

Social Programs

Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible for all children, including ethnic minorities and migrants.

2012 – 2015

Raise awareness of migrant children’s right to education among migrant families and local government officials.

2012 – 2015

Publicly release nationally representative data on working children, including child labor and hazardous work, and associated methodology.

2009 – 2015

Ensure that national reporting and statistics on child labor include children working on the streets and migrant children.

2012 – 2015

 

 

1.         ILO Committee of Experts. General Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. Geneva; 2013.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Thailand," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2014. Washington, DC; June 25, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236692.pdf.

3.         U.S. Department of State. "Thailand," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2015. Washington, DC; July 27, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/243562.pdf.

4.         Mekong Sub-regional Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women. The Mekong Challenge - Underpaid, Overworked and Overlooked: The realities of young migrant workers in Thailand. Bangkok, ILO; 2006. http://natlex.ilo.ch/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_bk_pb_67_en.pdf.

5.         EJF. The Hidden Cost: Human Rights Abuses in Thailand's Shrimp Industry. London; 2013. http://ejfoundation.org/sites/default/files/public/shrimp_report_v44_lower_resolution.pdf.

6.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), the ratio can exceed 100 percent, due to over-aged and under-aged children who enter primary school late/early and/or repeat grades. For more information, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

7.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, 2005-06. Analysis received December 18, 2015. Reliable statistical data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms. As a result, statistics on children’s work in general are reported in this chart, which may or may not include the worst forms of child labor.  For more information on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

8.         Mahidol University. Revised Research Report on Rapid Situation Assessment on Child Labor in Shrimp, Seafood, and Fisheries Sectors in Selected Areas of Surat Thani Province. Bangkok; May 2011.

9.         ILO-IPEC. Baseline Surveys on Child Labour in Selected Areas in Thailand. Bangkok; September 2013. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_222568.pdf.

10.       Sonja Vartiala, Henri Purje, Andy Hall, Katarliina Vihersalo, and Anu Aukeala. Cheap Has a High Price. Helsinki, Finnwatch; January 21, 2013. http://www.finnwatch.org/images/cheap%20has%20a%20high%20price_exec%20summary_final.pdf.

11.       The Asia Foundation, and ILO. Migrant and Child Labor in Thailand's Shrimp and Other Seafood Supply Chains: Labor Conditions and the Decision to Study or Work. Bangkok; September 2015. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_402971.pdf.

12.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, January 29, 2016.

13.       ILO. Employment practices and working conditions in Thailand's fishing sector. Bangkok; 2013. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_220596.pdf.

14.       Jaranya Wongprom, Thanjak Yenbamrung, Niramon Srithongchai, Nisit Sakayapan, and Moontri Sawai. Assessing the Situation of Selected Worst Forums of Child Labour in Udon Thani Province. Bangkok, Research and Development Institute, Khon Kaen University, supported by IPEC; June 2006.

15.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, February 6, 2013.

16.       Integrated Regional Information Networks. "Forced Labour in Thai Factory." IRINnews.org [online] January 22, 2013 [cited December 1, 2015]; http://www.irinnews.org/report/97302/in-brief-forced-labour-in-thai-factory.

17.       ILO. The Mekong Challenge: Working Day and Night. Bangkok, ILO Asia and the Pacific; 2006. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/bangkok/child/trafficking/downloads/workingdayandnight-english.pdf.

18.       U.S. Department of State. "Thailand," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

19.       Bergbom, K. Trapped in the Kitchen of the World: The situation for migrant workers in Thailand's poultry industry. Stockholm, Swedewatch and Finnwatch; November 25, 2015. Report No. 76. http://www.swedwatch.org/sites/default/files/tmp/76_thaikyckling_151123_ab.pdf.

20.       Destination Unknown. "Thailand: Burmese Youth working on construction sites," Thailand: Terre des Hommes; February 2,, 2015; 7 min., 41 sec., film; [cited February 6, 2015]; http://destination-unknown.org/thailand-burmese-youth-working-on-construction-sites/.

21.       Thin Lei Win. "Burmese Child Slave Puts Spotlight on Abuse of Foreign Maids in Thailand." The Irrawaddy, August 9, 2014. http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/burmese-child-slave-puts-spotlight-abuse-foreign-maids-thailand.html.

22.       Catsoulis, J. "Portrait of the Sad Life of Child Boxers in Thailand." New York Times, New York, November 13, 2012; Movie Reviews. http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/movies/buffalo-girls-on-thailands-child-boxing-circuit.html?_r=0.

23.       Malm, S. "Blood, sweat and tears: Muay Thai child fighters battle against each other to become the next generation of champions." dailymail.co.ok [online] July 8, 2012 [cited May 20, 2013]; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170513/Blood-sweat-tears-Muay-Thai-child-fighters-battle-generation-champions.html.

24.       Walker, C. "As Gamblers Gather, Thailand's child Boxers Slug It Out." npr.org [online] May 14, 2013 [cited May 17, 2013]; http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/05/06/181647462/As-Gamblers-Gather-Thailands-Child-Boxers-Slug-It-Out.

25.       Karlinsky, N. "Thailand's Child Boxers Compete in Brutal Fights for Money, Better Future." abcnews.go.com [online] January 21, 2014 [cited April 15, 2014]; http://abcnews.go.com/International/thailands-child-boxers-compete-brutal-fights-money-future/story?id=21613303&singlePage=true.

26.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, January 26, 2015.

27.       Integrated Regional Information Networks. "Thailand: Children Trafficked to Sell Flowers and Beg." IRINnews.org [online] June 4, 2012 [cited October 24, 2012]; http://www.irinnews.org/Report/95566/THAILAND-Children-trafficked-to-sell-flowers-and-beg

28.       Keenapan, N. Helping Children Living and Working on the Streets in Thailand, UNICEF, [online] March 7, 2012 [cited November 3, 2014]; http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/Thailand_61806.html.

29.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, February 15, 2015.

30.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 6, 2016.

31.       Campbell, C. "Child slaves may have caught the fish in your freexer." Time, March 8, 2014. [source on file].

32.       Urbina, I. "Forced labor for cheap fish." The New York Times, New York, July 27, 2015. [source on file].

33.       Child Soldiers International. Southern Thailand: Ongoing recruitment and use of children by armed groups. London; January 2015. http://child-soldiers.org/research_report_reader.php?id=799.

34.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, February 19, 2016.

35.       United Nations General Assembly Security Council. Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict; June 5, 2015. Report No. A/69/926*–S/2015/409*. http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2015_409.pdf.

36.       U.S. Department of State. "Thailand," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 20, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm.

37.       UN General Assembly Security Council. Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) April 20, 2016. http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2016/360.

38.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, February 3, 2014.

39.       Human Rights Watch. Stateless at Sea: The Moken of Burma and Thailand; June 2015. https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/06/25/stateless-sea/moken-burma-and-thailand.

40.       Government of Thailand. Labour Protection Act, enacted 1998.

41.       Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation concerning Labour Protection in Sea Fishery Work B.E. 2557, enacted 2014. [source on file].

42.       Government of Thailand. Penal Code, enacted 1997.

43.       Government of Thailand. Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, enacted January 30, 2008.

44.       Government of Thailand. Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, enacted October 14, 1996.

45.       Government of Thailand. Child Protection Act, enacted 2003.

46.       New Amendments to Thailand's Penal Code, South Asia Law, [online] [cited February 5, 2106]; http://www.southasia-law.com/newsdetail.php?id=12.

47.       Government of Thailand. Narcotics Act, enacted April 22, 1979. http://www.asean.org/storage/images/archive/Narcotics%20Act%20B.E.%202552%20(1979)%20-%20Thailand.doc.

48.       Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; September 2012. http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

49.       Government of Thailand. National Education Act, enacted 1999. http://www.onesqa.or.th/en/publication/nation_edbook.pdf.

50.       Government of Thailand. Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons Act (Second Edition), enacted April 28, 2015. [source on file].

51.       Government of Thailand. Thailand's Progress Report on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: 2015. Bangkok; February 26, 2016.

52.       Government of Thailand. Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, enacted November 14, 2015. [source on file].

53.       Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation Prohibiting Employment of Children Under Age 18, enacted January 14, 2016. http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2559/A/005/1.PDF.

54.       Government of Thailand. Ministerial Regulation on Welfare Protection for Domestic Workers, enacted 2012. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93543/109394/F-2091615568/THA93543%20Eng.pdf.

55.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 4, 2016.

56.       Ministry of Labour. Ministry of Labour Holds Seminar on 1506 Hotline Service, Government of Thailand, [online] February 27, 2014 [cited April 16, 2014]; http://www.mol.go.th/en/anonymouse/news/35741.

57.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 6, 2014.

58.       Government of Thailand. The Special Case Investigation Act, enacted 2004. https://www.unodc.org/tldb/pdf/Thailand_Special_Investigation_Act.pdf.

59.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, October 14, 2015.

60.       CIA. The World Factbook, [online] [cited March 18, 2016]; https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2095.html#131. Data provided is the most recent estimate of the country’s total labor force. This number is used to calculate a “sufficient number” of labor inspectors based on the country’s level of development as determined by the UN.

61.       ILO. Strategies and Practice for Labour Inspection. Geneva, Committee on Employment and Social Policy; November 2006. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb297/pdf/esp-3.pdf. Article 10 of ILO Convention No. 81 calls for a “sufficient number” of inspectors to do the work required. As each country assigns different priorities of enforcement to its inspectors, there is no official definition for a “sufficient” number of inspectors. Amongst the factors that need to be taken into account are the number and size of establishments and the total size of the workforce. No single measure is sufficient but in many countries the available data sources are weak. The number of inspectors per worker is currently the only internationally comparable indicator available. In its policy and technical advisory services, the ILO has taken as reasonable benchmarks that the number of labor inspectors in relation to workers should approach: 1/10,000 in industrial market economies; 1/15,000 in industrializing economies; 1/20,000 in transition economies; and 1/40,000 in less developed countries.

62.       UN. World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 Statistical Annex. New York; 2012. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wesp/wesp_current/2012country_class.pdf. For analytical purposes, the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (UN/DESA) classifies all countries of the world into one of three broad categories: developed economies, economies in transition, and developing countries. The composition of these groupings is intended to reflect basic economic country conditions. Several countries (in particular the economies in transition) have characteristics that could place them in more than one category; however, for purposes of analysis, the groupings have been made mutually exclusive. The list of the least developed countries is decided upon by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and, ultimately, by the General Assembly, on the basis of recommendations made by the Committee for Development Policy. The basic criteria for inclusion require that certain thresholds be met with regard to per capita GNI, a human assets index and an economic vulnerability index. For the purposes of the Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report, “developed economies” equate to the ILO’s classification of “industrial market economies; “economies in transition” to “transition economies,” “developing countries” to “industrializing economies, and “the least developed countries” equates to “less developed countries.” For countries that appear on both “developing countries” and “least developed countries” lists, they will be considered “least developed countries” for the purpose of calculating a “sufficient number” of labor inspectors.

63.       National Statistical Office. The Informal Employment Survey. Bangkok, Government of Thailand; 2015. http://service.nso.go.th/nso/nsopublish/themes/files/workerOutReport58.pdf.

64.       Government of Thailand,. Home Workers Protection Act, enacted November 11, 2010. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93545/109400/F-1826987314/THA93545%20Eng.pdf.

65.       Government of Thailand. National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour (2009-2014). Bangkok; 2009.

66.       Government of Thailand. Thailand's Progress Report on Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts. Bangkok; March 31, 2015.

67.       Mahidol University. Evaluation of the National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor Phase I. Bangkok; 2015. [source on file].

68.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 8 of the Convention: List of Issues: Thailand. [previously online]. Geneva; January 20, 2012. Report No. CRC/C/OPAC/THA/Q/1. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G12/403/09/PDF/G1240309.pdf?OpenElement [source on file].

69.       ASEAN. ASEAN to Enhance Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime, [previously online] June 17, 2015 [cited December 22, 2015]; http://www.asean.org/news/asean-secretariat-news/item/asean-to-enhance-cooperation-in-combating-transnational-crime [source on file].

70.       ASEAN. ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Kuala Lumpur; November 21, 2015. http://www.asean.org/storage/2015/12/ACTIP.pdf.

71.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: Thailand. Geneva; February 17, 2012. Report No. CRC/C/THA/CO/3-4. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:M2R6FK76lO0J:docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx%3Fenc%3D6QkG1d%252FPPRiCAqhKb7yhsuFzYqZXISqHtU6t9n3VzIPL%252Bau1egCFr1wT8QaGayueQj3nZvxvYFH8XMo3u6ualVwoKco0ZN%252FMkEB%252F4v5%252FUVd%252FwpYKGv1mispIFQ7nLB41+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us.

72.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 27, 2013.

73.       U.S. Embassy- Bangkok. reporting, January 31, 2012.

74.       ILO-IPEC. Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Shrimp and Seafood Processing Areas in Thailand. Project Document. Bangkok; December 17, 2010.

75.       ILO-IPEC. Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Shrimp and Seafood Processing Areas in Thailand. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; April 2015.

76.       Sukprasert, P. "Strengthening the roots of society." Bangkok Post, Bangkok, April 14, 2015. http://www.bangkokpost.com/archive/strengthening-the-roots-of-society/527947.

77.       UNICEF. UNICEF welcomes the introduction of the Child Support Grant to help address inequities among children in Thailand. Bangkok; April 1, 2015. http://www.unicef.org/thailand/media_23909.html.

 

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