Laos: Deaths due to road collision show the risks undocumented migrant workers face including slave-like labour conditions

Author: Max Avary & Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 24 August 2019

"Ten Lao Migrant Workers Die, Three Injured in Thailand Road Crash", 20 August 2019

Ten undocumented Lao migrant workers were killed and three others were seriously injured in a head-on collision...in eastern Thailand's Sa Kaeo province while traveling by van to Chanthaburi province on the border of Cambodia to renew their tourist visas, Thai police said.

...Tens of thousands of impoverished Lao nationals have sought employment in neighboring Thailand where they receive much higher pay for low-skilled jobs in fishing, manufacturing, and construction than they would at home.

In the past few years, Thailand has developed a comprehensive legal framework to manage migrant laborers from neighboring countries through formal recruitment channels and by allowing those already working to formally register with Thailand's Ministry of Labor.

Illegal migrant workers who violate Thai labor laws face heavy fines and jail terms, however.

Despite these measures, undocumented Laotians continue to enter the country on tourist visas to look for jobs, exposing themselves to unscrupulous employers who violate their rights or by middlemen who promise them well-paying jobs only to traffic them into slave-like labor conditions.

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