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25 Feb 2022

Lao officials propose new labor contract to protect workers in Chinese-run SEZ

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25 February 2022

Lao officials in Bokeo province have issued new rules for the Chinese-run Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in an effort to better protect female workers who have been held there against their will and, in some cases, trafficked as sex workers.

But labor officials and former SEZ workers say the measure may not be enough to stop employers from abusive practices, in part because Lao authorities have little power to operate in the SEZ.

The new procedures established by the provincial SEZ Management Office in northwestern Laos require all SEZ employers and workers to sign labor contracts that ensure workers have a safe workplace, insurance benefits and fair wages. They also forbid forced labor and require regular monitoring and reporting of work and living conditions to the management office.


After employers and workers sign labor contracts, authorities in the SEZ will issue a Smart Card to the workers that shows their identity and the name of their employer, the source said. Every worker who has a card will be registered with the province’s management office. The new regulations took effect on Tuesday.