Myanmar migrant kids found working in Thai factories


The Thai labour market relies heavily on migrant labour, workers who on occasion are under age. Fishmongers push a cart of fresh fish at the Bangkok fish market on January 20, 2005. Photo: Udo Weitz/EPA

The Thai labour market relies heavily on migrant labour, workers who on occasion are under age. Fishmongers push a cart of fresh fish at the Bangkok fish market on January 20, 2005. Photo: Udo Weitz/EPA

At least three textile and electronics factories in the Thai border province of Tak were found to be using Myanmar immigrant child labourers aged under 15, according to The Nation on February 17.

Thai Labour Ministry official Peerapat Pornsirilertkit said at least three Tak factories had hired children from Myanmar aged 11-14. Two textile factories had hired two underage kids and an electronic-parts factory three kids. Officials were also watching two other factories suspected of employing underage labour.

Mr Peerapat spoke of the concerns during a Bangkok labour seminar recently.

The Thai Labour Protection Act of 1998 prohibits the hiring of minors under 15, and offenders face up to a year in jail and-or a 200,000 baht [K6.3 million] fine.

Mr Peerapat leads the ministry's Department of Labour, Protection and Welfare. So far his department had assigned two special taskforce teams, made up of soldiers and officials, to solve child-labour issues, he said.

The department was considering asking for 10 million baht from the Thai government to conduct a survey of the number of child labourers and create a database for clearer information to explain to officials in the United States, he said.

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