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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)

Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications, though the government is sponsoring major improvements in the road system with support from Japan and China. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about 40% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Laos

Laos is primarily a source country for women and girls trafficked primarily to Thailand for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor as domestic or factory workers. Some Lao men, women, and children migrate to neighboring countries in search of better economic opportunities but are subjected to conditions of forced or bonded labor or forced prostitution after their arrival.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Laos.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

21 413 188
Country Code: 856-



Powell Cites Exploitation In 10 Nations

Associated Press AP, June 15, 2004

[accessed 17 February 2011]

Khan was 11 years old when she was kidnapped from her home in the hill country of Laos. She was taken to an embroidery factory in Thailand, and with dozens of other children was made to work 14 hours a day for food and clothing. They received no wages.


*** ARCHIVES ***

10 Facts About Human Trafficking In Laos

Ariana Kiessling, The Borgen Project, 23 October 2019

[accessed 23 February 2021]

SEX TRAFFICKING AND FORCED LABOR -- The commercial sex trade and forced labor situations are the two most common types of human trafficking that Laotians face. Since young females are the main people migrating from Laos, traffickers often take them to countries like China to sell them as brides. Others receive false promises of high paying jobs but end up trapped in slave work.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Laos

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 14 June 2021]


Due to limited numbers of inspectors, among other factors, the government did not effectively enforce the law.


There were reports of commercial sexual exploitation of children (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Trafficking in persons, especially to Thailand, is common, and enforcement of antitrafficking measures is hindered by a lack of transparency and weak rule of law. The building of new roads through Laos in recent years has aided trafficking operations.

Children as young as 12 years old may be legally employed in Laos. Inspections of workplaces, including those for industries considered hazardous, are required by law but do not take place regularly.

Laos reports 970 victims of human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, September 20, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 September 2011]

Laos has detected 970 victims of human trafficking, including 835 aged under 18, since 2001, Lao newspaper Vientiane reported Thursday.

Human trafficking helps spread HIV/AIDS in Asia: UN

Ranga Sirilal, Reuters, Colombo, Aug 22, 2007

[accessed 17 February 2011]

"Trafficking ... contributes to the spread of HIV by significantly increasing the vulnerability of trafficked persons to infection," said Caitlin Wiesen-Antin, HIV/AIDS regional coordinator, Asia and Pacific, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  "Both human trafficking and HIV greatly threaten human development and security."

Major human trafficking routes run between Nepal and India and between Thailand and neighbors like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Many of the victims are young teenage girls who end up in prostitution.  "The link between human trafficking and HIV/AIDS has only been identified fairly recently," Wiesen-Antin told the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

The ins and outs of leaving Laos

Clifford McCoy, Asia Times Online, Vientiane, Aug 11, 2007

[accessed 17 February 2011]

Local trafficking networks inside Laos are still mostly unorganized and informally run. Much of the trade consists of informal networks, often family members, friends or fellow villagers who have gone abroad to work before and have maintained connections. On this level, the arrangement of employment is done individually, often as a personal business. Once across the border in Thailand, however, the human-trafficking connections are very structured and well organized.

The family members or friends who say they can arrange employment are often tied into these networks, even if they are not formal members themselves. Once they have persuaded a Lao to seek work abroad, that person, often a young woman or under-age girl, is literally sold to the network, with the broker receiving a finder's fee.

Lao men are sometimes forced to serve on fishing trawlers, where they work long hours in deplorable conditions, sometimes not being allowed to return to shore for months. Lao women frequently find themselves sold to brothel or massage-parlor owners, who often force them to service numerous customers each day to pay off their broker fee, which in some instances takes years to repay fully.

Mekong region govts to co-op against human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, Phnom Penh, May 7, 2006

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2018]

Since the signing of the historic COMMIT Memorandum of Understanding in Yangon, Myanmar in October 2004, by Ministers of the six countries, the Governments have been active in laying the foundation for a network of cooperation to stop traffickers and prosecute them, protect victims of trafficking and assist them return safely home, and launch efforts to prevent others from sharing the same fate.

47 Laotian women rescued from Thai prostitution dens [DOC]

Associated Press AP, Bangkok, Feb 02, 2006 laotian women rescued from thai prostitution dens2.doc

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 20 September 2016]

Thai police on Wednesday raided two karaoke bars in a province near Bangkok and rescued 47 women from neighboring Laos who were forced to work as prostitutes, police said.

The women rescued from the bars in Chachoengsao province, 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of the capital, included eight girls under age 18, said police Col. Kraibun Songsuat. He said the bars' operators had kept the doors to the bars locked to keep the women from escaping.

Humans for Sale

Cape Cod Times, February 9, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 September 2011]

In one example of forced labor, a 14-year-old boy from Laos was sold to an embroidery factory in Thailand, where he was forced to work long hours for no wages. "If any of the children acted up, the factory owner would lock them in a small room and dump industrial chemicals on them," Miller said.

Christians Persecuted in Laos

U.S. Newswire, Vientiane, April 26, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 7 September 2011]

CHRISTIANS SENTENCED TO FORCED LABOR - Christians in Laos are routinely arrested and placed in forced labor camps to work in rice fields. Sometimes all Christians in a village are arrested at the same time and are forced to work in the rice fields for four to five months without pay.

Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery

United Press International UPI, Chicago, April 24, 2001

[accessed 7 September 2014]

Statistical estimates indicate 300,000 women have been sold into the sex trade in Western Europe in the last 10 years, and since 1990, 80,000 women and children from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, Laos and China have been sold into Thailand's sex industry.

Crisis-hit Laos wrestles with child-trafficking problem

Kyodo News International, Bangkok, Jan 26, 2000

[accessed 17 February 2011]

Trafficking of children from Laos to Thailand for commercial labor and sexual exploitation is increasing despite measures being taken to reverse the trend, according to a Lao government report presented Wednesday at a U.N.-sponsored conference on child rights in Southeast Asia.

Best safety net for a child is the family

from a forum held on September 29, 1998 at Justice Place in Brisbane

Kasama Vol. 12 No. 4 / October–November–December 1998 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network SPAN

[accessed 17 February 2011]

In Laos, very often the boys are approached directly, lured with baits of free drugs, good times, alcohol, ‘chicks’. But for girls there is a different modus operandi – the parents are approached. They are told, "Somebody is looking for a maid," or "A big mall is opening up in Bangkok and it needs 500 salesladies." One of the usual ways of approaching Asian children is through labour, through promised jobs.

New weapons against child trafficking in Asia

The Magazine Of The Ilo: World Of Work No. 19,  March 1997

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2018]

[page 22]

In Asia, trafficking in children both between and within various countries is on the increase. In recent years, large numbers of children from Cambodia, China, Laos and Myanmar have been forced to work as prostitutes in Thailand. Both girls and boys from poor rural areas are lured by professional recruiters and traffickers with promises of legitimate jobs in Thailand's booming economy.

Video Warns of Human Traffickers' False Promises

The Nation, Thailand, Sept. 30, 2003

[accessed 10 July 2013]

He said the majority of the young trafficking victims who saw the video said they had not been aware of the risks and possible consequences associated with work migration.  Khammoune Souphanthong, director of the Lao Social Welfare Department, welcomed the video, saying it would be a useful tool in educating Lao children on the dangers of trafficking. Local and Thai procurers lure Lao boys and girls with false promises of well-paid jobs in Thailand, he said. Many young Laotians were easy prey because they were attracted by the chance of becoming "modernised" in the style of role models seen on Thai television, he said.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 10 October 1997

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[10] The Committee is concerned at the insufficient attention paid by the State party to systematic, comprehensive and disaggregated qualitative and quantitative data collection and to the identification of appropriate indicators and mechanisms to evaluate the progress and the impact of policies and measures adopted for all areas covered by the Convention, especially the most hidden such as child abuse or ill-treatment, but also in relation to all groups of children including minority group children, girl children, children in rural areas, and children victims of sale, trafficking and prostitution.

[27] The Committee is concerned by the increasing phenomenon of child prostitution and trafficking, which affects boys as well as girls. It is worried about the insufficiency of measures to prevent and combat this phenomenon, and the lack of rehabilitation measures.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The majority of trafficking victims have been lowland Lao, although small numbers of highland minority women have also been victimized by traffickers. Minority groups were particularly vulnerable because they do not have the cultural familiarity or linguistic proximity to Thai that Lao‑speaking workers can use to protect themselves from exploitative situations. A much smaller number of trafficked foreign nationals, especially Burmese and Vietnamese, transited through the country.

Many labor recruiters in the country were local persons with cross‑border experience and were known to the trafficking victims. For the most part, they had no connection to organized crime, commercial sexual exploitation, or the practice of involuntary servitude, but their services usually ended once their charges reached Thailand, where more organized trafficking operations operated.

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