The U.S Department of State recently released it’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. As you all know human rights are at the core of DEPDC/GMS’s mission to prevent human trafficking through education and awareness raising. Although the report highlights certain areas of progress in the vast, ongoing issues of human rights in Thailand it also illustrates that many of the causal factors that lead to the high prevalence of human trafficking remain and there is much more work to be done.
In the past, many of our posts have been written to portray the underlying causes of human trafficking. A couple of the issues we address quite frequently are the lack of citizenship and statelessness within many of the hill tribe members in Northern Thailand and the surrounding areas. Lack of citizenship and statelessness present an array of problems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and under education in Thailand. This cycle of poverty and under education is deeply connected to the commodification of women and children and the reason DEPDC/GMS continues in the battle of prevention. In the 2015 report these specific issues were addressed and it is clear that these problems continue to exist and how they correlate to human trafficking and exploitative labor.
“Noncitizen members of hill tribes faced restrictions on their movement, could not own land, had difficulty accessing bank credit, and faced discrimination in employment. Although labor laws give them the right to equal treatments as employees, employers often violated those rights by paying them less than their citizen coworkers and less than minimum wage. The law also limited noncitizens in their choice of occupations. The law also bars them from government welfare services, such as universal health care.”
In a different section the report also states:
“Stateless persons had difficulty accessing credit and government services, such as health care. Although education was technically accessible for all undocumented and stateless children, it was usually of poor quality. School administrators placed the term “non-Thai citizen” on these individuals’ high school certificates, which severely limited their economic opportunities.”
From this information it is then no surprise that the report also concluded that child prostitution remains a problem. More specifically, children from poor families, especially boys and girls coming from migrant populations and ethnic minorities, are more vulnerable to the persuasion tactics of human traffickers.
While this information is discouraging and saddening it strengthens our resolve at DEPDC to continue our work in education, community awareness, and empowerment for the population of at-risk youth that we serve. Our many programs and activities directly target these specific human rights violations by providing opportunities that would otherwise not exist for the majority of these children.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for supporting us and our mission. The fight is far from over but we stand strong in knowing our international community stands with us. If you’ve ever considered getting involved and volunteering, please don’t hesitate to visit the volunteer information page on our blog and get in touch. Or if you can’t volunteer but feel like you’d like to make a contribution, please visit our GlobalGiving donations page here to pick which of our programs you’d like to contribute to. Thank you for reading and we wish you all the best.
To view the entire Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 for Thailand please follow this link: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2015&dlid=252803#wrapper