Human Trafficking in Thailand
Modern slavery plagues millions of communities globally. Human trafficking, a $150 billion plus industry, impacts lives regardless of race, gender or economic status. Human trafficking in Thailand is a major national problem.

Children and Human Trafficking

With convenient trafficking routes that funnel women and children in and out of the country, Thailand has become a popular destination for traffickers. Extreme poverty, particularly in rural areas makes children vulnerable. Research estimates that around 60,000 children are trapped in the sex trade in Thailand. Direct intervention can be extremely difficult, due to the violent nature of this criminal activity.

There are a number of risk factors that make children vulnerable to human trafficking. Poverty and hunger can cause parents to sell their children into slavery with the hope that they will find a better life. In addition, traffickers target homeless and isolated children, hoping to lure them with false promises. A lack of education or understanding of their legal rights, also makes children more vulnerable.

In Thailand, most children only attend school for about 7 years. The most susceptible population are girls living in orphanages who are about to graduate into the outside world.

Peacework Safe Girls Campaign

Peacework, a non-profit based in Virginia, has developed the Peacework Safe Girls Campaign to combat child trafficking in Thailand and other countries through education and empowerment. The Safe Girls Campaign empowers children with financial self-reliance and avoid the chains of trafficking.

The Peacework Safe Girls Campaign hosts a variety of different empowerment projects at orphanages in Thailand staffed by university students from the United States working alongside university students in Thailand.

In Saraburi, Thailand, Peacework partners with Asia Pacific University, a Seventh-day Adventist university east of Saraburi. The partnership between Peacework and Asia Pacific University focuses on the development of a financial independence curriculum. They present the curriculum to the orphanages and shelters on an annual basis.

Peacework Safe Girls Campaign empowers children in Chiang Rai as well. Chiang Rai sits at the top of Thailand, and ineffective border regulation results in well-used trafficking routes. Peacework partners with Keep Girls Safe, an initiative of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency that runs a shelter for young girls. The Safe Girls Campaign sends university students from the United States to Chiang Rai to run educational workshops for shelter residents.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Through these projects, the Safe Girls Campaign helps children achieve self-determination that helps them avoid trafficking. Equipped with knowledge about their legal rights and the skills to pursue a profitable career, vulnerable children can take control of their futures and resist the cycle of trafficking. The work also gives children the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. Entrepreneurial development equips them to pursue a financially stable career.

While the scale of the campaigns’ reach may be small, the impact of economic empowerment on the lives of orphans in Chiang Rai and Saraburi are sure to have a ripple effect. In addition, the tactics they are developing to fight human trafficking and poverty are inherently valuable to ending the epidemic globally.

The prevention work Peacework does through the Safe Girls Campaign is crucial in the fight to end trafficking and it currently hopes to expand the campaign to countries around the world. Their prevention strategy can be applied to any country. The Safe Girls Campaign empowers children to pursue better lives.

– Julia McCartney

Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in BangkokBangkok, the capital of Thailand, has long been one of the fastest developing cities in Asia. Thailand has made major developments in its economy, environment and infrastructure in recent years. However, neither the city of Bangkok nor the nation of Thailand is free from poverty. The following are 10 important facts about poverty in Bangkok.

Facts About Poverty in Bangkok

  1. As of 2014, 10.5 percent of Bangkok’s population lives below the national poverty line. 
  2. Over the last 30 years, poverty in Thailand has reduced from 67 percent to 7.2 percent in 2015. The World Bank calls Thailand a great developmental success. 
  3. Poverty reduction since 1988 has been most effective in Bangkok and the surrounding regions. While this is fantastic, it means poverty has become more concentrated in the Northeast region of the nation.
  4. 3.8 million people living in the Northeast are in poverty, compared to 2.3 million in the rest of the nation. The Thai government has been creating poverty reduction policies that span the entire country, but focusing on areas of higher concentration may be more necessary. 
  5. Thailand has achieved gender equality in primary schools and women outnumber men in secondary and tertiary schools. This is a major accomplishment, as it enables women to earn higher incomes in the long term and ultimately reduces poverty.
  6. The Eleventh National Economic and Social Development Plan, which ran from 2012 to 2016, aimed to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line through a variety of strategies, such as restructuring the tax system to improve income distribution in the country.
  7. Between 2013 and 2016, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnered with the Thai government to increase the effectiveness of the Eleventh Development Plan. The ADB committed to creating higher and more inclusive growth in Thailand. 
  8. Bangkok is expected to become one of the world’s “megacities” and is likely to have a population of over 10 million people soon.
  9. In 2016, Thailand joined the World Bank Group’s Partnership for Market Readiness, which is an alliance of over 30 nations aiming to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and energy consumption in developing nations. 
  10. Bangkok houses only 10 percent of Thailand’s population, but it contributes more than 50 percent of the national GDP.

As these facts about poverty in Bangkok show, severe poverty remains a problem in Bangkok. The Thai government has been quite proactive in partnering with organizations like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and seems to be committed to reducing poverty levels in the country. This is a great sign, and with more projects and increased funding from other countries and organizations, Thailand may be able to eradicate poverty before long, making these facts about poverty in Bangkok a thing of the past.

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of about 69,000 people and a history of underdevelopment and impoverishment. The good news is that Thailand’s poverty rate is declining rapidly due to incredible progress in development. The country has moved from a lower-income country to an upper-income country in less than a generation. Thailand is the success story of Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s economic growth started in the 1960s and continued until 1996 at a rate of about 7.5 percent per year. After the Asian financial crisis that lasted from 1995 to 2005, Thailand still saw remarkable growth at an annual rate of five percent. Millions of people were pulled out of poverty due to the many jobs that were created at this time.Thailand has made a great deal of progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has created its own MDG-plus targets. The country has a firm commitment to the MDGs and to the U.N.’s Office for South-South Cooperation making Thailand an increasingly active global partner in development.

Some contributing factors to the decline of Thailand’s poverty rate are that a growing number of children are getting more years of schooling, almost every citizen is covered by health insurance and other forms of social security have expanded. HIV rates decreased in the 1990s from about 125,000 infections to fewer than 20,000 in 2003.

Thailand’s poverty rate has been declining considerably over the last four decades from 67 percent in 1986 to 10.5 percent in 2017. Thailand has the third-lowest poverty rate in Southeast Asia after Malaysia and Vietnam. Thailand has a 20-Year National Strategy that will last from 2017 until 2036 with the purpose to attain developed country status through reforms. These reforms will address economic stability, human capital, equal economic opportunities, environmental sustainability, competitiveness and effective government bureaucracies. Previous reforms included large multi-year infrastructure projects, improving state-owned enterprise governance, the approval of progressive inheritance and taxes and the beginning of the National Savings Fund.

There are still many issues facing Thailand but the good news is that there are many goals and deadlines being made by the Thai government to ensure that Thailand’s poverty rate keeps dropping. The country consistently meets target dates for development goals and gets one step ahead by creating newer objectives in order to reach the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goal to end global poverty in all forms by 2030.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Thailand Thai Poverty
While Thailand historically has been known to have a fairly strong economy, it experienced setbacks in 2013-15 as a result of domestic political turmoil and slow global demand. Since then, the Southeast Asian country has undergone a period of economic growth, advancing as a middle-income country and moving toward achievement of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), poverty in Thailand has decreased from 21 percent in 2000 to about 12.6 percent in 2012.

While it is important to note the remarkable progress that has been made, certain challenges and conditions still pose a threat to people and society. Discussed below are the leading facts about poverty in Thailand.

Top 5 Facts about Poverty in Thailand

  1. The reported unemployment rate in Thailand is less than one percent. In addition, 69.4 percent of the population aged 15 and older is employed.
  2. Just more than 38 percent of the population have at least some secondary education. Advancements in education have been particularly impressive and a large contributor to reducing poverty in Thailand as a whole.
  3. According to the Asian Development Bank, for every 1,000 babies born in Thailand, 11 die before their first birthday. Similarly, the maternal mortality rate as of 2015 is 20 deaths per 100,000 live births, and the total infant mortality rate is 9.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, emphasizing the close link between the effect of poverty on death rates.
  4. In the booming 1960s, Thailand’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent, creating millions of jobs that helped pull millions of people out of poverty.
  5. As of 2014, more than 80 percent of the country’s impoverished population of 7.1 million live in rural areas. Moreover, an additional 6.7 million were living within 20 percent above the national poverty line and remained vulnerable to falling back into poverty in Thailand.

With a massive population of more than 68 million as of 2017, poverty in Thailand affects many individuals. Fortunately, with awareness and assistance, there are opportunities for the nation’s recovery to eliminate poverty and help boost prosperity for all citizens.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Thailand
Thailand is being touted as a development success story. Sustained growth and poverty reduction are the reasons for the incredible progress. Poverty in Thailand was reduced from 21 percent in 2000 to 12.6 percent in 2012 and 7.5 percent in 2015. Between 1999-2005 the economy grew annually by five percent, which created jobs and improved education.

While Thailand has become a middle-income country and an active development partner, the country’s growth has slowed to only 3.5 percent between 2005-2015. Despite this, Thailand is making great progress towards meeting their Millennium Development Goals.

Thailand’s economic success is not shared with all citizens. Poverty in Thailand mainly affects those living in rural areas. There are 7.1 million people living in poverty and 80 percent of those live in rural areas. The inequality is not limited to those living in rural areas. Some areas and ethnic groups are affected more than others, particularly in the Northeast, North and Deep South.

Poverty and inequality create a challenge for a country with a faltering GDP. While the World Bank predicts that growth will increase 3.2 percent in 2017, it has grown by less than 2.5 percent annually between 2014-2016.

A 20-year strategic plan to end poverty in Thailand and help attain developed country status includes reforms to stabilize the economy and provide equal economic opportunities, environmental stability, and effective government bureaucracies. The country has already implemented large-scale public infrastructure projects, renewable energy tariffs, strengthened the renewable energy market, identified opportunities for energy efficiency improvement, diversified fuel sources and created a state enterprise policy committee. On a more economical level, the country has transferred supervisory oversight of specialized financial institutions to the Bank of Thailand, created a National Savings Fund and created a retirement safety net for workers.

Thailand may achieve its desired goals and see an end to poverty in the country if it can sustain growth and implement additional sound reforms.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr