Thailand: Migrant workers face multi-dimensional risks during COVID-19 outbreak, describes report

Author: Andy Hall, Asia Times, Published on: 24 April 2020

“Thailand’s migrant workers at risk during pandemics”, 24 April 2020

Migrant workers in Thailand are among the most vulnerable as the country grapples with the Covid-19 crisis. Many live in crowded, unhygienic accommodation or dormitories…, have limited access to protective equipment [and]…up-to-date prevention information because of language barriers. Many have become jobless and are not yet eligible for state assistance, nor are they receiving unemployment or unfair-dismissal payments in practice. [P]assports are confiscated…[and] border closures mean…migrant workers already recruited…are stranded…, many heavily indebted and at risk of debt bondage.

If the migrant community’s health is compromised and Covid-19 spreads quickly among the population, Thailand may struggle to contain the disease and prolong the wider public health, economic and social consequences for the country as a whole. The…government should provide flexible, easily accessible and non-discriminatory health, social-security and additional welfare protections for migrant communities.

Private sector and employers should ensure migrant workers remain employed and healthy so that when the pandemic passes, a return to normal is feasible. International buyers should take responsibility to bear part of the burden to ensure their suppliers are adhering to the highest standards…

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