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24 Aug 2022

Sidney Khotpanya & Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia

Lao initiative to register workers in Chinese-run SEZ has limited success

24 August 2022

A Lao government initiative to register workers in a Chinese-run special economic zone in the northern part of the country to protect them from human trafficking and other abuses has had limited success, as workers balk at paying the fees and fear that signing up will get them sent home, sources said.

The measure is aimed at protecting domestic and foreign workers, many of whom are young women, from abuse and exploitation by their employers, especially those who work in the Kings Romans Casino in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bokeo province.


In addition to the cost, some workers who have entered the SEZ illegally are afraid to register out of fear they will be sent back home.

So far, the government has registered 1,267 workers, only a fraction of the workers in the zone, although the exact number employed in the SEZ is unknown, according to Lao officials.