Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

Kingdom of Thailand

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand was one of East Asia's best performers from 2002-04, averaging more than 6% annual real GDP growth. However, overall economic growth has fallen sharply - averaging 4.9% from 2005 to 2007 - as persistent political crisis stalled infrastructure mega-projects, eroded investor and consumer confidence, and damaged the country's international image.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Thailand

Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Thailand’s relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries and from as far away as Russia and Fiji who flee conditions of poverty and, in the case of Burma, military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce, or defraud undocumented migrants into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation. Following migration to Thailand, men, women, and children, primarily from Burma, are trafficked for forced labor in fishing-related industries, factories, agriculture, construction, domestic work, and begging. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Ethnic minorities such as northern hill tribe peoples, many of whom do not have legal status in the country, are at a disproportionately high risk for trafficking internally and abroad.   - 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 Thailand.  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

International Organization for Migration
2 343 93 00
Country code: 66-


Thai Government and International Organizations Pledge Cooperation to Provide Assistance to Victims, News & Updates,  04 June 2007 -- Adapted from: "Trading in People: To ensure adults and children trafficked in Thailand receive help, state and international agencies have signed an agreement to not discriminate between victims." The Bangkok Post (Outlook), 21 May 2007 (edited). (Source: UNIAP Thailand)

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

When she finally managed to escape, she rushed to a policeman for help. But worse was to come. The woman was deported and was left to find her way home from the Thai border. Walking through the jungle, she was repeatedly raped by groups of Karen guerrillas. Traumatised and lost, she was eventually rescued by a stranger who took her to a refugee camp in Mae Hong Son, from where she was sent to Suan Prung Mental Hospital in Chiang Mai when camp staff realised she had lost her mind.

While poor women from neighbouring countries enter Thailand in pursuit of work, many Thai women head overseas for the same reason. And many end up in similarly hellish conditions, said psychologist Pornsri Boonthanasathit who has worked with many victims of human trafficking.

The misery of male slavery - Trafficking of Men in Thailand, News & Updates, 17 May 2007 -- Adapted from: "The misery of male slavery." The Nation. 14 May 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

The fight against human trafficking has for more than a decade tried to protect women and children, often forgetting that men, too, are victims of "new slavery".

The commission reports that between July 17 and July 19 of 2003, six fishing trawlers with about 100 crew sailed from Tha Chalom in Samut Sakhon province to fish Indonesian territorial waters. Most of the crew were migrant workers and four were younger than 16. None were allowed home leave for three years. The trawlers returned to Thailand in July last year.

Thirty-eight never returned, dying on the job. Two were buried on one of Indonesia's myriad islands and the rest unceremoniously dumped at sea. One more crewmember died shortly upon his return.  Others returned home seriously ill - emaciated, emotionally disturbed and unable to see, hear or walk properly.  A Samut Sakhon Hospital medical report diagnosed the men with serious vitamin deficiencies. They had suffered months without proper food or water, eating only fish.  None have been paid. Yet, they are not considered by law to be victims of human trafficking.

50 Year Old Anti-Slavery Law Used in Thailand to Combat Human Trafficking, News & Updates, 17 May 2007 -- Adapted from: "Of human bondage: After 50 years, the anti-slavery law is finally being enforced." Bangkok Post. Outlook, 8 May 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

Chand was forced to work from 4am to midnight every day, serving 50-year-old Wipaporn Songmeesap and her family of six. Instructed never to leave the house or contact her parents, fear-stricken Chand was only allowed to eat once or twice a day, unless her boss was angry with her, in which case she went hungry.  When unhappy with her work, Wipaporn would violently beat her with an iron rod or a belt with a metal buckle, said Chand. She was never sent to the doctor, and repeated beatings kept opening old wounds, leading to a severe infection.

The legal efforts to take Chand's employer to court for the crime of slavery began two years ago. In a landmark verdict last month, the Criminal Court sentenced Wipaporn to more than 10 years in jail for abusing Chand as a slave. The mother of four was also ordered to pay Chand 200,000 baht in compensation. Despite an appeal by the defendant, history was made. The country's 51-year-old anti-slavery law had been enforced for the first time, paving the way for future cases to tackle human trafficking and slavery.



*** ARCHIVES ***


Cleaning Up The Thai Fishing Industry

Matthew Brown, The Borgen Project, 13 March 2021

[accessed 15 March 2021]

POOR WORKING CONDITIONS -- Working conditions on Thai fishing vessels are notoriously challenging. In multiple reports, workers discuss working 18-20 hour days with inadequate food, water and medical supplies. Between 14% and 18% of migrants report being victims of forced labor. Among these victims of human trafficking, over half report seeing a coworker killed in front of them. Threats from employers and beatings are common, along with working at sea for years at a time without being allowed to leave the vessel. These conditions affect all nationalities in the Thai fishing industry, but undocumented immigrants are the most vulnerable to mistreatment.

Combating Human Trafficking In Thailand

Celia Brocker,The Borgen Project, 27 November 2020

[accessed 15 March 2021]

CHALLENGES ELIMINATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THAILAND -- A big part of the country’s prevention efforts must involve the protection of migrants. Thailand’s population has about 4.9 million migrants – making up 10% of its workforce – according to the United Nations. Most individuals migrating to Thailand are from poorer neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia, and are, therefore, more vulnerable to trafficking.

The country passed The Royal Ordinance on Management of Migrant Workers in March 2018, which requires employers to cover recruitment fees and transportation costs for migrant workers in Thailand. These transportation finances include the arrival and return home of employed migrant workers.

However, the country has not defined or enforced the regulations on these fees well.

Texas woman sentenced for role in international human trafficking operation with location in Minneapolis

Charlie Wiese, KSTP-ABC Eyewitness News, 17 September 2020

[accessed 18 September 2020]

As proven during a six week trial and conviction by a federal jury, Wanless participated in a sex trafficking organization that coerced hundreds of women from Bangkok, Thailand to engage in commercial sex acts in cities around the United States, including Minneapolis.

The trafficking victims were forced to participate in the scheme through misleading claims of a better life in the United States. Once in the United States, the victims were sent to houses for prostitution.

The victims were isolated from the outside world, and their families in Thailand were threatened, according to the release.

U.S. urged to downgrade Thailand in annual human trafficking report

Nanchanok Wongsamuth, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 10 March 2020

[accessed 11 March 2020]

Last year, Thailand was ranked as a Tier 2 country - above the lowest ranking of Tier 3 - in the U.S. State Department's closely watched Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which noted that the country was making significant efforts to combat the crime.

But in a separate report, the SWG called on the U.S. to place Thailand on its Tier 2 Watch List, a category denoting nations that have not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and deserve special scrutiny.

The Thai government had made no progress in key areas, including the number of forced labour cases, labour inspections, assisting potential victims of trafficking, as well as addressing widespread debt bondage and the withholding of workers' travel documents, the report said.

The government had failed to protect workers and labour rights defenders who report abuse from retaliation, while migrant workers still do not have the legal right to organise and bargain collectively for better conditions, it added.

Record number of trafficking victims in Thailand raises concerns over care

Nanchanok Wongsamuth, Reuters, Bangkok, 6 January 2020

[accessed 7 January 2020]

Thailand rescued a record 1,807 victims of human trafficking last year, according to data that campaigners on Monday said raised concerns about the nation’s ability to support survivors.

About 60% of those rescued last year were women and most were labor trafficked. Nearly three-quarters of them were Burmese migrants bound for neighboring Malaysia, police said.

Those who are identified as trafficking victims can choose to receive help from the government, which includes staying at a shelter and being compensated through a state fund that provides living and rehabilitation expenses in addition to lost wages.

Thailand needs neighbors' help to crack down on slavery at sea: activist

Nanchanok Wongsamuth, Reuters, London, 4 June 2019

[accessed 11 June 2019]

Thailand’s crackdown on exploitation and slavery in its multi-billion dollar fishing industry will only succeed if its neighbors step up and adopt anti-trafficking laws, said a labor rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Thai fishing vessels are increasingly registering in nearby countries to avoid scrutiny of their treatment of migrant workers as Thailand boosts its laws on human trafficking, said local campaigner Patima Tungpuchayakul.

Unlike Thai boats, foreign vessels are not required to undergo checks by officials when they enter or leave ports in Thailand, said the activist, who featured in a 2018 documentary ‘Ghost Fleet’ about workers trapped in slavery in the industry.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Thailand

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

[accessed 28 June 2021]


There were reports that forced labor continued in fishing, shrimp, garment production, agriculture, domestic work, and begging.

Labor rights groups reported that some employers utilized practices indicative of forced labor, such as seeking to prevent migrant workers from changing jobs or forcing them to work by delaying wages, burying them in debt, or accusing them of theft.  NGOs reported cases where employers colluded to blacklist workers who reported labor violations, joined unions, or changed jobs.

The government and NGOs reported trafficking victims among smuggled migrants, particularly from Burma.  Most of those cases involved transnational trafficking syndicates both in Thailand and in the country of origin.  Many victims were subjected to deception, detention, starvation, human branding, and abuse during their journey.  Traffickers sometimes destroyed the passports and identity documents of victims.  Some victims were sold to different smugglers and subjected to debt bondage.


NGOs, however, reported that some children from within the country, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and ethnic minority communities were working in informal sectors and small businesses, including farming, home-based businesses, restaurants, street vending, auto services, food processing, construction, domestic work, and begging.  Some children were forced to work in prostitution, pornography, begging, and the production and trafficking of drugs (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 7 May 2020]


Exploitation and trafficking of migrant workers (estimated between 4 and 5 million) and refugees from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos are serious and ongoing problems, as are child and sweatshop labor. Sex trafficking remains a problem in which some state officials are complicit. However, the government has made some efforts to prosecute and seize the assets of those suspected of involvement in human trafficking, including police officers and local officials.

Thai companies facing criticism for human rights violations, labor rights abuses, and migrant rights violations continue to file libel lawsuits against activists and human rights defenders. The poultry company Thammakaset in recent years has filed more than 20 criminal and civil complaints against journalists, human rights defenders, former employees of the company, and staff of nongovernmental organizations.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 944]

Thai Children, as well as children from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are exploited for commercial sexual exploitation in Thai massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels, and private residences. In addition, children are lured, including through the internet and social media, and coerced to produce pornography and perform sexual acts for live internet broadcasts. (12; 37; 38; 39; 4; 40; 3; 41; 42)

Children, particularly migrants from the Greater Mekong Sub-region, engage in hazardous work in shrimp and seafood processing. While incidents of child labor in shrimp and seafood processing have declined in recent years, children are still reported to work in the industry. (43; 16) Children who work in shrimp and seafood processing clean and lift heavy loads of seafood and work late hours. Many of these children also experience health problems, including injuries and chronic diseases. (6; 18; 1).

Thai fishing industry turns to trafficking: 'We witnessed girls being raped again and again'

Chris Kelly, Annie Kelly, Claudine Spera, Irene Baqué, Mustafa Khalili & Lucy Lamble,, 20 July 2015

[accessed 20 Ju;y 2015]

One year on from the Guardian's expose of slave labour in the supply chain of Thai prawns sold in supermarkets across the world, a new investigation has linked Thailand's fishing industry with the vast transnational trafficking syndicates profiting from the misery of some of the most persecuted people on earth. Hundreds of Rohingya migrants were sold from jungle camps on to Thai fishing boats producing seafood sold across the globe. As Thailand's fishing sector faces crisis, fishermen are also moving closer to the traffickers, converting their boats to carry people and facilitating huge off-shore trafficking camps.

Thai police find second human trafficking camp

Kocha Olarn & Don Melvin, CNN, 5 May 2015

[accessed 19 May 2015]

Thai police said Tuesday they had found a second camp used for human trafficking and had discovered three trafficking victims hiding in it.

The camp is close to one discovered last week in which Thai authorities said they found the remains of at least 26 people along with one survivor who had to be hospitalized.

Group: Trafficking out of control - The advocacy organization Human Rights Watch has said that human trafficking is out of control in Thailand. It said the dead at the first camp, which was found Friday, were Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar or Bangladesh.

Police, NGO say deaths were from disease, not violence - In a statement last week, Human Rights Watch said the dead found at the first camp had "starved to death or died of disease while being held by traffickers who were awaiting payment of ransoms."

Illegal Immigrant–Beggars Found To Be Human Trafficking Victims

Pattaya Daily News, 26 May 2009

[accessed 22 August 2014]

After the investigation and related research concerning the gang of Cambodians from Vietnam who had been sneaking illegally into Pattaya of late, Mr. Supakorn Noja aka Kroo Ja” said that the officials had learned that many of the women were not even the real mothers of the children. The true scenario was, in fact, more like a human trafficking operation, which has been on the rapid increase. Most of them, it transpired, had been lured into the unfortunate situation by Thai gangs. When they were arrested, the Thai operators were easily able get away with their crimes by negotiating with the police. These human trafficking operations are increasingly giving Pattaya a really bad reputation.

The child beggars, when questioned, said they were brought out of a house in the Banglamung area at around 7.00 pm and were forced to beg for money until dawn. They had to make between 500-1000 baht per night. If they could not make it, they would be punished by being hit with sticks or denied food.

Thai woman jailed for 14 years for human trafficking

Agence France-Presse AFP, Bangkok, 17 Jun 2008

[accessed 18 February 2015]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

[name withheld] from Thailand's poor northeast, lured two women in their 20s and 30s from her hometown with the promise of work in her daughter's restaurant, a statement from the Fight Against Child Exploitation (FACE) said.  But when the two women arrived in Italy via France in 2005, they were told no jobs were available at the restaurant and they had to work as prostitutes to repay the money Jomsri lent to them to travel to Europe.

Greater Public-Private Collaboration Required to Combat Human Trafficking

Washington, 9 June 2008 /PR Newswire-US Newswire/ -- Source: Vital Voices Global Partnership

[accessed 23 June 2013]

[accessed 5 October 2016]

Vital Voices is pleased to see the report's coverage of the dire situation confronting stateless people in northern Thailand. In July 2007, Vital Voices released a report, "Stateless and Vulnerable to Human Trafficking in Thailand," detailing the legal and practical barriers to the tribal people in northern Thailand and their vulnerability to human trafficking. Due to their lack of citizenship, the stateless often fall victim to trafficking and receive little to no assistance or protection.

Stateless And Vulnerable To Human Trafficking In Thailand [PDF]

Vital Voices Global Partnership, June 2007

[accessed 23 June 2013]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - LEGAL FRAMEWORK - Despite the international prohibition and Thailand's legal commitment to eliminate trafficking within and across its borders, the country remains a favored source, transit and destination country.37 In part, trafficking continues to thrive because its root causes have not been addressed. According to "studies by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . . . lack of proof of citizenship is the single greatest risk factor for a hill tribe girl or woman to be trafficked or otherwise exploited."38 The challenge of obtaining citizenship, especially for those in the northern hill tribes, directly impacts an individual's ability to access state services and opportunities. Without access to state services like education and healthcare, the stateless people become more vulnerable to trafficking, the black-market and exploitation.

Education may prevent human trafficking

Casey Northcutt, The Murray State News, February 21, 2008

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

[accessed 28 August 2011]

Hundreds of thousands of men and women in northern Thailand are captured each year and forced to work in farms, sweatshops and brothels, according to  Malarin Visetrojana, English as a Second Language student from Bangkok, Thailand, said children especially are captured by this trap. In the rural northern regions, many families are so poor that instead of sending their children to school, they send them to cities to work as servants for the rich. Sometimes, "middlemen" approach a child's parents, pretending to represent a wealthy family in search of help.  "They know that the children will go to work as servants or as housemaids for big families," Visetrojana said. "They don't know that their children will be prostitutes."

New law on trafficking

Pennapa Hongthong, The Nation, October 1, 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

Eaklak said regional bus terminals were places where crime syndicates trafficked Thai men into the fishing industry. He said many men and male teenagers had been drugged unconscious while waiting for buses at terminals - then woke up to find themselves on a fishing boat in the middle of an ocean.  "They have no way to escape, and must work in a boat until the time it goes ashore."

Eaklak said that over the past four years his centre had helped rescue 19 men trafficked to work on fishing boats.  He believed the number of men trafficked to work on fishing boats must be in the thousands. That estimate, he said, was based on the number of fishing boats operating beyond Thai waters - more than 1,000 - and the fact each has about 30-40 workers.

Eaklak said trafficking within Thailand to exploit workers existed not because there was no law against it, but because corrupt influential figures were involved in trafficking. He said the country already had a law to control labour on fishing boats, however its implementation was crippled by corrupt state officials, who allowed these operations to exist.

Authorities Rescue Abused Foreign Youth Workers From Chonburi Hell Factory

Pattaya Daily News, 13 July 2007

[accessed 22 August 2014]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

At the factory, the police team found over 20 foreign children, aged between 12 and 17, working under intolerable conditions as vegetable oil fillers, and effectively imprisoned on the premises. Apparently, the Women Foundation had previously helped four young Lao children, aged between 12 and 15, that had successfully escaped from the factory, who had reported that they were forced to work long hours and were abused.

Fifteen Year Old Girl Forced into Slavery

Pattaya Daily News, 19 May 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

Miss Leena reported that a Khmer man told her that if she came to Pattaya to be a salesgirl, she could earn an income at least 10,000 baht Soi a month. However, she had pay a 2,500 baht fee for entering the country. If she did not have the money, she could come to work first and the fee would be deducted from her income. She believed the man and followed him to Thailand by sneaking through the border at Sa-Kaew province. Then, Mrs. Tor Chan Thy (31), a Khmer citizen, took over and brought her to Pattaya to sell toys. She let her stay on the third floor, room No. 307, of Surat Apartment, Pornpraphanimitr, Moo 5, Nongprue, Banglamung.

After ten days, Miss Leena realized that she was cheated because she never received any money. She had only three meals a day if she met her quota of 1,000 baht. If she did not earn at least 1,000 baht per day, she was scolded, beaten up and not given food. She could not stand the situation. So, she managed to escape and seek help.

Human-Trafficking Of Children In Tak Province

Pattaya Daily News, 29 March 2007

[Last accessed 29 December 2010]

On a monthly basis, a small number of children vanish. These children, according to Thongsuk, are forced into working as beggars, labourers and prostitutes in Malaysia, Bangkok and Nakhon Sawan. It has also been reported that the children are badly maltreated by those who employ them, even giving them electric shocks if they don’t bring in sufficient money from begging. 

Some of the schemes that the immigrants perpetrate are: selling their children, luring some away and stealing others, even hiring out babies for 20 Baht daily to be used as fronts for begging.

Human trafficking helps spread HIV/AIDS in Asia: UN

Ranga Sirilal, Reuters, Colombo, 22 Aug 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

"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.

More action urged against slave labour

Bangkok Post, 18 July 2007

[access date unavailable]

Labour advocates are demanding more action to safeguard job seekers against being lured into virtual slavery on fishing trawlers. Ekkaluck Lumchumkhae, chief of the Mirror Foundation's missing persons information centre, said human trafficking gangs were still active in the country because the responsible agencies were not doing what they should do.

Since the centre's establishment four years ago, around 800 people have been reported missing in the country, of which 19 were believed to have been deceived into working on sea-going trawlers, Mr Ekkaluck said.

A labour agent earns 3,000-5,000 baht per head from unscrupulous fishing trawler operators if they mange to lure a young male to work on board a vessel, he said.

Ethnic Hill-Tribe Children Learn about the Dangers of Trafficking, 17 May 2007 -- Adapted from: "Course to save hilltribe girls from flesh trade" Bangkok Post. 8 May 2007

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

Chiang Rai governor Amorphan Nimanant said his province has become a major transit point for human trafficking because of its location as it borders Burma and is also very close to China, where human trafficking is rampant as well. ''More importantly, people were still poor, deeper in debt, and had no access to proper education, which would only worsen the situation,'' he said.  However, the province is determined to suppress the problem, he said, adding that a network has been set up to fight it.

Children in danger - Human trafficking suspected as youngsters go missing in Tak's Mae Sot district

Anan Paengnoy, The Nation, March 26, 2007

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

[accessed 12 September 2011]

Every month, a few children go missing from the Muslim Community in Mae Sot district in what clearly are cases of human-trafficking.  According to local community leaders, these children are sent to Bangkok, Nakhon Sawan and even Malaysia to be beggars, workers and prostitutes.  Some children are stolen, others are lured away. Some are sold.

Human Trafficking Racket Being Operated in Southern Thailand

Pattaya Daily News, 22 March 2007

[accessed 22 August 2014]

Recently, two young men from Buriram were kidnapped by a trafficking gang on their first day of arrival in Bangkok, while looking for work. After being drugged, presumably with something similar to chloroform, the two were transported, unconscious, to a fishing port and effectively imprisoned on a fishing boat for 8 months.

Phuket investors implicated in human trafficking bust

The Nation, Mae Hong Son, 3 February 2007

[accessed 22 August 2014]

Twenty long-neck Karen women (Paduang) arrested while crossing the Thai-Burmese border on Wednesday night allegedly were to be sold to a group of Phuket investors for 10 million baht, police said on Thursday.

Lin Lin

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

[accessed 12 September 2011]

"Lin Lin" was thirteen years old when she was recruited by an agent for work in Thailand. Her father took $480 from the agent with the understanding that his daughter would pay the loan back out of her earnings. The agent took "Lin Lin" to Bangkok, and three days later she was taken to the Ran Dee Prom brothel. "Lin Lin" did not know what was going on.

Narathiwat raided Karaokes: 34 human trafficking victims rescued

Thais News

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

[accessed 12 September 2011]

The provincial police and other provincial officials had raided and arrested two local karaoke operators. 34 women and children were rescued. Among them included three Vietnamese people, two Cambodians, 20 Thai Yai residents, three Laotians, and six Thais. There was one fifteen-year-old and the rest aged between 17 and 20.

More co-operation needed in war on human trafficking

Viet Nam News, 04-07-2006

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

[accessed 12 September 2011]

Reviewing the human trafficking trend in the region, Thailand’s Susu Thatun, programme manager of the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region reported that nearly one-third of the global trafficking trade of about 200,000-225,000 women and children are trafficked annually from Southeast Asia.

While in the past women and children have been reported as trafficked victims, Thatun said that boys and men have also been identified as victims as well into the sex trade, heavy labour, begging, marriage, and the fishing industry.

Mekong region govts to co-op against human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, PHNOM PENH, 7 May 2006

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 19 June 2017]

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.

Police rescue 47 Laotian women forced into prostitution in Thai karaoke bars [DOC]

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

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[accessed 5 October 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.

Thai woman admits selling girl into sex trade

The Japan Times online, 5 July 2005

[accessed 7 May 2020]

A Thai woman in Kanagawa Prefecture has been arrested on suspicion of selling a teenage Thai girl to a woman who manages prostitutes, and a Japanese man in Tokyo was taken into custody for introducing the girl to another man for purposes of solicitation, police said Monday.

Khmer girls' trafficking ordeal

Kylie Morris, BBC News, Thai-Cambodian border, 2 June 2005

[accessed 29 December 2010]

A recent court case in Bangkok has revealed the way in which human trafficking networks operate across the border.  In a conviction the United Nations has hailed as a breakthrough, a woman named Khun Thea was sentenced to 85 years in jail for luring Khmer girls into prostitution.  It is the most substantial sentence ever given in South East Asia as punishment for engaging in human trafficking.  Part of the reason for the conviction was the courage of a handful of Cambodian women, who traveled to Bangkok to testify against Khun Thea.

Sex, lies and bad debts

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 2004

[accessed 30 December 2010]

Although the extent of sexual servitude in Australia is unknown, more stories are emerging of young Asian women being lured on false promises, only to end up working as sex slaves in a strange land, with little English, no passports and no freedom.  THE 20-year-old Thai student thought she was coming to Australia as a waitress, but said that 24 hours after arriving, she was put to work. Three Indonesian girls were luckier. Before being put to work they escaped from an inner-west red-brick unit and, in the middle of a winter's night, ran through the back streets begging motorists to stop.

Human Supply And Demand

[access date unavailable]

Inside the "abandoned" shop houses there were already a number of Cambodian inhabitants. They greeted the newcomers and led them inside. The mission of illegal entry was completed; the next step would be to find "buyers" for the human cargo.

Seduction, Sale & Slavery: Trafficking In Women & Children For Sexual Exploitation In Southern Africa [PDF]

Jonathan Martens, Maciej ‘Mac’ Pieczkowski and Bernadette van Vuuren-Smyth,  International Organization for Migration (IOM),  Regional Office for Southern Africa,  Pretoria, South Africa,  May 2003

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

[accessed 12 September 2011]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The major findings may be summarized as follows:

Mozambican victims include both girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 24. They are offered jobs as waitresses or sex workers in Johannesburg, and pay their traffickers ZAR 500 to smuggle them across the border in minibus taxis either at Komatipoort or Ponta do Ouro. They stay in transit houses along South Africa’s border with Mozambique and Swaziland for one night where they are sexually assaulted as an initiation for the sex work that awaits them. Once in Johannesburg, some are sold to brothels in the Central Business District (CBD) for ZAR 1000. Others are sold as slaves on private order for ZAR 550, or shopped around to mineworkers on the West Rand as ‘wives’ for ZAR 650. An estimated 1000 Mozambican victims are recruited, transported, and exploited in this way every year, earning traffickers approximately ZAR 1 million annually.

 [accessed 19 June 2017]

"Modern day slavery". Prostitution in Thailand

exquis Dodano: 30 July 2003

[accessed 30 December 2010]

To every one of us being a child means playing, laughing, eating ice cream, being surrounded with loving and caring parents. For children in Thailand however, this is just a mere image of the impossible. Thousands of them are tricked, drugged and then sold or abducted into prostitution. Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of prostitution is described as “the modern day slavery”. As Orlando Patterson, a Sociologist at Harvard University defined it, “slavery is the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons”. It robs the individual of her honor, self respect and self consciousness.

A Modern Form of Slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand (Paperback)

Human Rights Watch (December 1993) -- ISBN-10: 156432107X,   ISBN-13: 978-1564321077

[accessed 30 December 2010]

by Women's Rights Project (Human Rights Watch) (Author), Asia Watch Committee (U. S.) (Author), Dorothy Q. Thomas (Editor), Sidney Jones (Editor).

Fighting Child Trafficking

Peter Hadfield, Deutsche Welle News, 01.09.2007,,1104482,00.html

[accessed 30 December 2010]

"Families are still struggling to survive, and often, the poverty and the disparities between countries, and also between rural areas and the towns, pushes children and families to seek better opportunities," says Ravi Kaneta, who works in the child protection section at UNICEF, which focuses on child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

He says Thailand has become a regional magnet for trafficked children, and the routes are only now becoming clear. The children end up working in factories, as beggars on the streets, or worse, in brothels.

Singaporean man arrested on human trafficking charges - Result of ongoing investigations in Thailand and abroad

Pattaya Mail, 22 May 2004

[accessed 30 December 2010]

The charges brought against Lui Bok Poh were the result of ongoing investigations in Thailand and abroad. Poh allegedly transported women to Singapore and Malaysia for prostitution and would often pay for their visas and air tickets. Minders in those countries would deduct the expenses as the women earned their way out of debt before returning to Thailand.

Police revealed that, in cooperation with international agencies, they have a long list of those involved in human trafficking and will eventually arrest them all, confiscating all their assets in the process.

Video Warns of Human Traffickers' False Promises

The Nation, Thailand, 30 September 2003

[accessed 3 May 2012]

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.

Thai families partners in child sex trade - Border area's products are drugs and daughters

Andrew Perrin, San Francisco Chronicle, Mae Sai, Thailand, February 6, 2002

[accessed 16 August 2012]

When Burmese migrant Ngun Chai sold his 13-year-old daughter into prostitution for $114, his wife, La, had one regret -- they didn't get a good price for her.  "I should have asked for 10,000 baht ($228)," La Chai said. "He robbed us."

Human traffic, human rights: redefining victim protection [PDF]

Anti-Slavery International, ISBN: 0 900918 55 1

[accessed 23 June 2013]

[page 177]  LAH - Lah, an ethnic minority woman from Burma was trafficked into Thailand to work in prostitution. She was discovered during a police raid on the premises where she was staying. There was no arrest or prosecution against the owner of the massage parlours who, according to Lah and other women, was directly engaged in trafficking and benefiting from it. Police were insensitive to the needs of the women because they regarded them as willing prostitutes.22 Lah's lawyer was denied access to participate in the process of taking the deposition from Lah and the other women.23 Critical information regarding the massage parlours and the participation of the owner was missing from the police file of the case.

Gender Concerns a Case Study of Thailand

Sudarat Sereewat, FACE (Fight Against Child Exploitation) -- This paper is for Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs Regional Consultation on Gender Concerns focussing on Girls Trafficking and Forced Prostitution, 14 - 19 September 2001, Bangkok, Thailand

[accessed 30 December 2010]

I. A CASE OF LAOTIAN GIRLS BEING TRAFFICKED INTO THAILAND FOR PROSTITUTION - A CRY FOR RESCUE - These 5 girls, aged 15, 16, two 20 and 23, testified that they were lured to work as waitress in a restaurant and will get about 15,000 Baht per month. They traveled in different trips and different days but were coerced and accompanied by the same Laotian woman trafficker across the border to Nong Kai Province. Then the same driver drove them in the same van straight to Cholburi Province. The trafficker received a thick envelop of cash - the girl did not know how much, but the ‘Mama san’ told them that she gave 10,000 Baht for each girl.which made these girl owe her and must pay her back when they could earn the money from the customers. On top of that, the16 years old and the one of 20 were forced to make a nose surgery against their will. They were afraid that it will hurt. The 20 years old were forced to make the ‘new nose’ three times ( as the "Mama san" said that ‘not beautiful/ not good’ after the first two surgeries) . After the surgery, they were told that they had 15,000 Baht debt for each surgery. The 20 years old girl was told that she owed the "Mama san" altogether 45,000 Baht from three surgeries!

These girls could not leave the place on their own. The place where they slept was not too far from the working place…the massage parlour, but they were always put in a car which drove them between the two places. The 15 years old girl were there for about 5 months, longer than the others. One of them had been there for only about 20 days before being rescued.

Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery

United Press International UPI, Chicago, 24 April 2001

[accessed 23 June 2013]

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, Bangkok, 26 January 2000

[accessed 30 December 2010]

Thousands of Lao youths illegally migrate to Thailand every year, with traffickers and their agents luring young boys and girls living in villages along the river across it with promises of high-paying jobs, it said.  "The children are then forced to work without pay as factory workers, as servants in private homes, and as waitresses in restaurants and nightclubs in order to 'repay their debts or fees'," the report said.  "Some children have to do hard labor without rest and are frequently beaten by their 'owners'."  In some cases, traffickers pay parents as much as two years in advance for the right to take their daughters to work in factories in Thailand. Some girls are then raped and "lured into prostitution," it said.

Thailand's Sex Trade

Development and Education Program for Daughters and Communities, 30 May 2005

[accessed 22 August 2014]

Many rural families are landless or in debt to money lenders. As a result, men go to the cities for casual work. Often they don't return, however, leaving their wives to raise families single-handedly. Faced with such pressures, some parents view their daughters as commodities which can be traded. Brothel owners have networks of agents combing the villages for troubled families with daughters, making tempting offers of good jobs in the big cities and resort areas. So begins a cycle in which relatives, village headmen, police, government officials, and business people all benefit from the girls' labor.

Is trafficking in human beings demand driven?: a multi-country pilot study

Bridget Anderson and Julia O’Connell Davidson, Save the Children Sweden, ISBN:91-7321-069-2, 2003

[Long URL]

[accessed 17 February 2022]

INTRODUCTION - Part I of this report sets out to review current debates and existing research on “the demand side of trafficking”.

Forced Prostitution Rampant in Malaysia

Feminist News, July 14, 1998 -- Media Resources: Bangkok Post - May 17, 1998

[accessed 30 December 2010]

Young girls in Thailand are being smuggled across the border by gangs to work as prostitutes in Malaysia. Most of these girls were bought from their parents in Thailand by gangs or were recruited with lies about working as a housekeeper. Once in Malaysia the gangs sell the girls to Malaysian gangs who then distribute them to various entertainment places that offer sex services.

Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand

Human Rights Watch, New York, JANUARY 31, 1994

[accessed 30 December 2010]

The Thai government is guilty of complicity in the trafficking of Burmese women and girls into Thailand for forced prostitution, according to A Modern Form of Slavery, released today by Human Rights Watch. The 160-page report documents the direct involvement of Thai police and border guards in the illicit sex trade, and the Thai government's routine failure to punish its own officials and others who engage in or profit from this abuse. It concludes that in 1993 alone the Royal Thai Government, rather than punishing officials and other traffickers, has wrongfully arrested and deported hundreds of Burmese victims, in clear violation of Thailand's obligations under national and international law.

Dying to Leave

Thirteen, New York Public Media, September 25th, 2003

[accessed 26 December 2010]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

VICTIMS - Traffickers find fertile ground in Thailand’s rugged North, where economic change has wreaked havoc. Many of the tribal residents in this highlands region also do not have Thai citizenship — a fact that leaves them particularly vulnerable to trafficking. In one northern Thai region, Mae Sai, 70 percent of the 800 families there had sold a daughter into prostitution, delegates at the 2001 Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children were told. Age preferences for hill women range from early teens to mid-30s; trafficked children often are taught to sniff “rubber cement” so that they will perform whatever task required without objection.

But with the boom in trafficked women and children from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China, demand for Thai women and girls is believed to have declined, THE BANGKOK POST recently reported. One fourth of Thailand’s estimated 200,000 commercial sex workers are believed to be Burmese, according to the paper.

But often, defining whether a victim has been forced to take up sex work or other labor or chosen to do so willingly is an impossible task. With limited options for work in Burma, Cambodia and Laos, the chance to go across the border to work on a “fruit farm” or other alleged business is a chance to earn money for a family’s clothes, food, education, and medicine. In Burma, ethnic Shan women are often rape targets for army troops — a claim denied by the ruling junta. “Being forced to work physically is one thing, but these women were forced to work by their situation,” Hseng Noung, of the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), told THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. “The women didn’t feel like they were rescued because they lost their money,” Noung said of one U.S.-funded anti-trafficking raid. “They felt like they were trapped.”

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 9 October 1998

[accessed 29 December 2010]

[30] The Committee expresses concern at the continuing high rate of sexual abuse of children, including child prostitution and trafficking and sale of children, which affects both girls and boys.


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 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Some portion (thought by the UN, NGOs, and the government to be a minority) of the estimated 200 thousand to 300 thousand sex industry workers in the country were either underage or in involuntary servitude or debt bondage. Women and children (particularly girls) tended to be the most frequent trafficking victims. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the trafficking of men, women, and children into such fields as commercial fisheries or sweatshop work was significant. Young migrant women and girls, particularly from Laos, were found employed in indentured servitude and under physical constraint in sweatshops that restricted their freedom. NGOs assisted some victims to obtain back wages from abusive employers.

Within the country women were trafficked from the impoverished Northeast and the North to Bangkok for sexual exploitation. However, internal trafficking of women appeared to be on the decline, due to prevention programs and better economic opportunities. Women also were trafficked to Japan, Malaysia, Bahrain, Australia, South Africa, Europe, and the United States chiefly for sexual exploitation but also for sweatshop labor. Men were trafficked into the country for commercial fisheries and farm, industrial, and construction labor. Prosecution of traffickers of men was complicated by the lack of coverage in the law.

Women and men were trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Laos for labor and sexual exploitation. Boys and girls were trafficked chiefly from Burma and Cambodia primarily for sexual exploitation and to work in begging gangs. The government improved the screening of trafficking victims from Cambodia and Burma through cooperation between the Royal Thai Police and the International Organization for Migration. Law enforcement officials identified victims of trafficking and referred them to one of six regional government shelters.

Entire families occasionally were trafficked for labor in sweatshops. Underage boys reportedly were brought into the country for specialized work in which small size was an advantage. According to domestic NGOs, girls between the ages of 12 and 18 continued to be trafficked from Burma, southern PRC, and Laos to work in the commercial sex industry. Social workers noted that young girls were prized because clients believed that they were free of sexually transmitted diseases. Persons trafficked from the PRC often were in transit to other countries, although women and girls from Yunnan Province generally were destined for brothels in the North. Victims of trafficking were often lured into the country or for transit to other countries, with promises of restaurant or household work and then were pressured or physically forced into prostitution.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 29 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Thailand is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons, including children, for both labor and commercial sexual exploitation.  Trafficking is exacerbated by sex tourism.  Domestic NGOs report that girls ages 12 to 18 are trafficked from Burma, China, and Laos for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.  Children are also trafficked into Thailand from Cambodia and Burma to work as beggars, as domestic workers, in sweatshops, and in commercial sexual exploitation.  Internal trafficking of children, especially of members of northern Thailand’s stateless ethnic tribes, also occurs.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Thailand",, [accessed <date>]