Laos: Migrant workers brave exploitation & unsafe working conditions in Thailand

Author: Max Avary & Richard Finney, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 31 August 2019

"Lao Migrants Fleeing Poverty Defy Dangers to Work in Thailand", 27 August 2019

Lao workers...have poured in growing numbers this year into neighboring Thailand, braving exploitation and unsafe work conditions in search of employment to help support families back home....

...Ministry figures indicate that at the beginning of this year, 207,561 Lao migrants were working legally in Thailand, with about 30,000 illegal workers also present in the country. Figures published in May by the Thai Labor Ministry showed 278,485 Lao workers registered in

Many young Laotians enter Thailand with the help of middle-men to work illegally, with many later trapped in debt to their employers while others simply vanish.

...Other Lao girls are sold to entertainment venues, restaurants, or factories, Phin said, with employers paying between $250 and $500 to a second middle-man, and employers then deducting pay from the girls' paychecks every month until their "debt" is paid.

...Many of these women and girls are then sexually exploited, with some entrapped by relatives back home, sources told RFA.

...In other cases, Thai employers underpay undocumented Lao workers and then threaten them with arrest by the police if they complain, sources say.

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