Child labour in Thailand

Thailand Country Study Towards a Best Practice Guide on Sustainable Action Against Child Labour
Prepared for the International Labour Organisation, January 1998
by Natalie Bennett

Printed by Amarin, Bangkok, ISBN 974-8369-59-5

Executive Summary

This country study examines actions against child labour implemented, planned or proposed in Thailand, particularly focusing on work which has, or could, effectively “make a difference” in the battle against child labour. It focuses on the last 15 years, and particularly on the last decade, a period in which Thailand made considerable advances in the battle against child labour.

Progress has come chiefly from the rapid, massive expansion in lower secondary schooling, which has meant upward of 80 percent of children finishing Grade Six at about age 12 continue their schooling, compared to 40 percent in 1990. Significant advances have also been made in:

(i) Strengthening legal provisions against child labour and introducing policies and plans to deal with the issue;

(ii) In raising awareness among senior and working level officials, and among the general public (particularly in the area of child prostitution);

(iii) In signficiantly raising the number of labour inspections;

(iv) Developing and strengthening NGOs; and

(v) Developing and piloting strategies to directly address child labour through a variety of approaches.

This study has identified the following “best practices” which have contributed to this success, in addition to recommendations for “best practices” which should be strengthened or developed in the light of experiences thus far.

1. Existing Practice

(a) Core commitment

The development of a committed core of individuals, linked by regular contacts, across a range of organisations, particularly government agencies, NGOs, international agencies and the media, is essential to the development of sustainable action against child labour. This was achieved in Thailand through the holding of meetings and seminars, frequently with international backing, which exposed relevant, interested people to an understanding of the issue and its importance; through the development and implementation of projects through which government and non-government workers have been exposed to child labour issues and methods of addressing them; and, and through the development of national policies and plans by a process of wide consultation and discussion. Special effort must be made to continue to encourage involvement, even in cases when officials are transferred out of areas of immediate relevance to child labour, and to encourage a widening of the circle of actors involved in joint action against child labour.

(b) Research-backing

All actions taken at the policy and practical level should be supported, and usually preceded, by high-quality research, essential for policy development, lobbying and advocacy process and for designing and implementing effective action. This is particularly important in efforts to encourage legal change, as was demonstrated by the successful work to achieve the first Cabinet child labour statement, including the increase in the minimum age of employment to 13 years.

(c) International Input

International financial, technical and organisational support was essential to the development of (a) and (b) above and (e) below, as within relatively rigid bureaucratic structures and with NGOs beginning with limited resources and support, this outside assistance is essential. In Thailand it has provided a “jump start” to child labour issues over the past few years which has culminated in this year’s (1997) passage of “The Child Labour Problem: Prevention and Solution Plan, 1997-2001,” and the passing by the House of Representatives and Senate of a new labour law raising the minimum age of employment to 15 years.

(d) Enlistment of Political Support

Statements of high-level political support, preferably at the prime ministerial, ministerial and department-head level, are essential to promoting child labour action. These, however, usually must be initiated at the bureaucratic level, which requires strong support from research and a core of committed individuals.

(e) Capacity-building

Government and non-government organisations have been strengthened and supported, particularly through technical assistance in the form of training, handbook development, etc., in areas such as problem analysis, project design development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, which has been essential to the development of all other forms of sustainable action against child labour in Thailand. In developing the core of technical expertise and material in this process, international organisations have been crucial, but much still remains to be done in this vital area.

(e) Step-by-Step Approach

Rather than setting large, complex goals for action against child labour, a step-by-step approach, focusing on addressing one issue at a time, has proven effective in Thailand, as evidenced by the gradual increase in the minimum age of employment and the passage of new legislation against the commercial sex industry last year. Once a significant change has been achieved, any problems such as contradictory legislation or regulation or incompatible bureaucrat practices can then be modified accordingly.

(f) Gradual Enlistment

Action against child labour can begin with those actors who are available for and interested in the work, as in Thailand efforts initially began with the National Youth Bureau and a few committed individuals, and then new institutional and individual actors can be enlisted as they become interested or obviously essential to programmes and projects.

2. Developing and Recommended Practices

(a) Macro-economic Reform

Macro-economic reform, to reduce income inequalities, particularly between rural and urban areas, will be an essential step to effectively and sustainably preventing child labour in Thailand. This will require increased attention to the development of environmentally-sustainable, financially-rewarding rural production, in addition to improved decentralisation of industrial production and services.

(b) Education Reform

Education needs to be reformed to become student-centred, meeting the diverse needs of students of different ages and backgrounds, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, and acknowledging the value of accumulated local knowledge and experience, and of the worth of “learning by doing”. It should encourage, not stifle, students’ creativity and inventiveness, and focus on promoting problem-solving abilities.

(c) Community Enlistment

All levels of community organisations, including village, tambon and municipal levels, need to be enlisted in effective actions against child labour. The village volunteer model, more efficiently and effectively implemented, provides a possible model for achieving interest and involvement at this level. Enlistment of the media, already sympathetic towards and interested in child labour issues, also needs to be further pursued.

(d) National and Local Planning

Thailand last year adopted a national plan for tackling child labour. This is an important first step, but serious efforts need to be directed to ensuring its operationalisation and further development. With IPEC support, provincial plans are also being developed, vital for Thailand where there are very significant regional differences in the nature of child labour problems and their potential solutions. In both contexts, while planning in Thailand has traditionally involved rigid frameworks and top-down direction, a more consultative, cooperative model offers opportunities for significant advances by encouraging integration of efforts without threatening individual areas of control or clashing with other institutional structures.

(e) Monitoring Of Effectiveness

Effective monitoring of actions against child labour is essential, but is currently seriously lacking in Thailand. A useful starting point may be the new legislation on child labour. The model of the anti-commercial sex industry legislation, which is now being monitored by two NGOs with the support of a government agency (the NCWA), is probably most appropriate in the Thai context, as it is not possible or considered appropriate for one government agency to monitor the work of another. All projects should also be monitored by effective research to determine their actual effectiveness in addressing child labour issues, particularly for use in guiding the direction of further efforts.

(f) Resource Mobilisation

There is a natural tendency for workers in the child labour field to look at their limited financial and other resources and feel more inputs are essential to making a real difference. Since, however, these are frequently unavailable, close attention needs to be paid to ensuring best possible use is made of existing resources. Concurrently, it is important for Thailand to realise that the current strong international support and funding will not continue forever, and provision for work against child labour must be included within regular government budgets, while NGOs need to work towards developing indigenous or independent funding sources.

(g) Family Support and Development

Some work has already been done in Thailand to promote and strengthen the institution of the family, particularly focusing on addressing the issue of children in the commercial sex industry. Family problems such as marriage break-ups, minor wives or abuse of children and inappropriate parental attitudes are at the root of many child labour problems, and the attitudes of parents who expect their children to support them from a young age, even when the children’s income is not needed for basic subsistence, need to be modified.

(h) Counselling and Support

Strengthening of counselling and other support services for family development and mental health at the grassroots level is essential for effective action against child labour. Work on this area is at a very early stage, with research begun to initially document what in-service and pre-service training is now available to and utilised by social workers and other relevant individuals. This is designed to be an initial stage in eventually developing and improving instructions for prospective counsellors and social workers at universities and other relevant institutions, with a special emphasis on the importance of internships or other forms of practical training. Such curricula and promotion efforts should focus on the importance of “whole family,” rather than individual counselling, reflecting the Thai cultural context.

(i) Children-help-children

More attention needs to be paid to developing mechanisms by which children who through their experiences and education have achieved understanding of child labour issues can pass this on to other children, both those younger than themselves and their peer group. This may be achieved by mechanisms such as drama groups, production of newsletters, pamphlets etc., and should particularly focus on educating children about their rights.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Study Aim

This study was prepared for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the aim of providing information and exploring and developing concepts to assist in the development of a policy instrument for ILO member states on the “best practices” for sustainable action against child labour. Considering progress over the past 15 years, with a particular focus on the last five years, it describes and seeks to assess the effectiveness and impact of measures taken in Thailand thus far, identifying the factors and conditions which have facilitated or hampered their implementation. Considering a variety of projects, programmes and policy approaches, it seeks to identify those which have “made a difference” in attitudes and practices of target groups, and to determine the essential elements or factors in their success, to provide guidelines for future policies and strategies.

Chapter 2 begins this report with a brief outline of the existing situation with regard to child labour in Thailand, considering the socio-economic context, trends and incidence of child labour, national legislation relating to child labour and Thailand’s international commitments on the issue. Chapter 3 outlines existing policies and programmes to combat child labour in Thailand, focusing on analysing how they came into being, particularly the vital actors and factors which led to their development and activation, their degree of success and factors which have assisted or hampered their operation. (To allow concentration on analysis of policies and programmes, detailed information on individual policies and programmes is contained in Appendix III.)

Chapter 4 considers the institutions and actors, ranging from the grassroots to the national and international level, both public and private, involved in combating child labour, their key responsibilities and the degree of coordination of programmes and networking between them. Chapter 5 moves on to consider the impact of international action against child labour on Thai institutions and policies. Working from this information and analysis, Chapter 6 offers conclusions on the successes, deficiencies and problems in the current approach to combating child labour in Thailand, with recommendations on improvements which might be made to increase the effectiveness of policies and programmes. Finally, Chapter 7 identifies a set of indicators to be used to measure the success of existing and future programmes.

1.2. Research Team

Project Director: Senator Dr. Saisuree Chutikul

Dr. Saisuree was Minister for the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for women, children, education and social development from 1992 to 1993, and has since 1994 has served as Adviser to the Office of the Prime Minister on Women, Children and Social Development, in which capacity she has supervised production of many Thai government publication on women’s and child issues. She is currently the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Women, Children and the Elderly. She was Secretary-General of the National Youth Bureau from 1983 to 1989. She was also the director of the project on National Policies, Perspective Plans and Programmes for Child Development, Youth Development and Women’s Development, Gifted Children, Street Children and Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances.

Author: Ms. Natalie Bennett, Independent Researcher and Editor, Bangkok.

Ms. Bennett was the primary author of Thailand’s Combined Second and Third Report of the Commission on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1996) completed while working as an editor for the Thai Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs. She was editor of the World Health Organisation Women’s Health and Development Country Report, Thailand (1998), author of the Desk Study on Private Sector Involvement in Skill Development for the Asian Development Bank (1996), and rapporteur at the United Nations Development Programme Asia/Africa Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women, Bangkok, July, 1997. She has a Bachelor of Arts, Hons. (Asian Studies) from the University of New England, Australia, and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Hons. from the University of Sydney.

Researchers: Ms. Chariya Khanthavit, Expert on Labour Protection Standards, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare

Ms. Khanthavit was the Director of the Labour Welfare Division in the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare from 1994 to 1997, after serving as the Director of the Woman and Child Labour Division from 1990 to 1994. She formerly had responsibility for IPEC in Thailand. She has been a consultant on labour administration for many organisations and was the author of Working Conditions for Special Service Girls, A Survey of the Bangkok Area (1992) and Thai Labour Administration and Globalization.

Ms. Rataya Kobsirikarn: Policy and Plan Analyst, Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister.

Ms Kobsirikarn has also been an assistant researcher on the project Child Labour in the Industrial Sector in Bangkok and Nearby, conducted by the National Committee on Health and Environment, National Commission on Women’s Affairs, and worked on the Evaluation Report for Strengthening the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s Programme on Child Labour, 1995. She has a Master of Arts (Linguistics) from Chulalongkorn University.

Assistant Researchers:

From the Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, research assistance and translation was provided by Ms. Sirikul Intarapanich and Ms. Anusorn Inkampaeng.

1.3. Methodology

The research team began preparation of this report with a desk review, collecting from as many sources as possible relevant quantitative and qualitative information sources, in both Thai and English. A virtually complete list of this material is contained within the Bibliography (Appendix I), as it became obvious during this process that the distribution of this list may be of use to future researchers.

The desk review revealed that over the past decade considerable advances, particularly in the areas of legal provisions, government services and development of concerned NGOs, had been made in addressing child labour issues in Thailand. There was, however, little information on the work which produced these developments or analysis available to explain why it was successful. Additionally, it was clear that while descriptions of former and existing projects and implemented or proposed policy changes are fairly readily available, there has been very little effective monitoring and evaluation of the degree of effective implementation of policies or the success of projects. (This is a deficiency identified by many observers of Thai programmes in many social areas, not just child labour.)

It was obviously neither the role of this study, nor feasible, to conduct full, detailed, individual analysis of each of the many policies and projects addressing various aspects of the child labour issue in Thailand conducted by a huge range of agencies. Instead, the researchers sought to focus on detailed examination of a variety of policy and project approaches, identifying their degree of success or failure, and the barriers and supportive factors affecting them, through a series of detailed interviews with relevant individuals and institutional representatives. By this method, they aimed to identify the “best practices” for producing sustainable action against child labour in Thailand.

A selection of the projects surveyed are detailed in case studies in Appendix III. These were chosen with the aim of providing the reader with a picture of the current climate in Thailand in which the projects operate (so they include where possible case studies of individuals who may have been affected by them), some detailed information on the operation of the projects, measures of their impacts and an examination of the factors affecting their results.

After completing the desk review, the research team conducted a large number of interviews with high-level government and non-government representatives and target groups, including working children, parents, employers, trainers, teachers and researchers to collect data and inform its analysis. These individuals and groups were selected in consultation with IPEC staff in Bangkok, from the individual knowledge of the researchers and by recommendations from other interviewees. In most cases these interviews were conducted individually in the researchers’ offices in Bangkok, but in some cases for logistical reasons group interviews were held.

The interviews were conducted in a loosely structured format. Researchers first briefly explained the nature of the research project. They then asked the interviewee to explain the project(s) addressing child labour issues in which they had been involved, focusing on their degree or success or failure, problems encountered and their possible or actual solutions. Interviewees were then asked to comment more broadly on their opinions on child labour issues in Thailand, the effectiveness of government and non-government activities to address them and any changes in direction or focus they would recommend. Finally, interviewees were offered a chance to make an comments they wished on any relevant topic, and asked to provide any documentation or material they felt might be of use to the researchers, including other possible interviewees. A list of the individuals consulted is included in Appendix V.

In order to ensure this report incorporated grass-roots views and perspectives, rather than only those of centralised authorities and individuals in the national capital Bangkok, the research team visited three provinces in which child labour, in different forms, is recognised as a particular problem; Sri Sa Ket (in north east Thailand), and Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai (in northern Thailand). These research visits aimed to obtain regional perspectives from areas recognised as significant sources of child labour. As Bangkok and surrounding areas are the primary areas for employment of child labour, relevant grassroots actors were able to be consulted there.

The format of this field research varied according to the availability of individuals, accessibility of organisations and recommendations of local officers. In Chiang Rai, one research team member attended, with an IPEC officer, a meeting and associated field trips conducted to discuss work on that province’s development of a provincial plan on child labour. The team member was thus able to both view interactions between the organisations and workers, both government and non-government, in a working environment, as well as to individually question senior government and non-government workers on their projects. In Sri Sa Ket, the full research team was able to focus on the grassroots level, visiting several projects in the poorest area of the province and speaking with child workers, parents, village-level officials and teachers, as well as provincial labour officials. In Chiang Mai, members of the research team met in a group session with government and non-government workers developing the provincial child labour plan for a discussion which focused on work in that area, as well as detailed discussion of some projects in the province. The team then visited one education and training project, and spoke with child flower sellers in the streets of Chiang Mai city.

Additionally, IPEC Bangkok organised a very valuable IPEC Partners Meeting, at which representatives of IPEC partners involved in programmes to combat child labour met to discuss their achievements, the problems and obstacles encountered, and other lessons learnt in the battle against child labour in Thailand. This meeting produced recommendations for policy and action which considerably influenced the recommendations of this report.

Finally, after the preparation of the first draft of this report, a senior-level consultative meeting was held with representatives of major national institutions involved in combating child labour in Thailand. This was designed both to validate the conclusions of the research team, and to ensure the full involvement of those institutions as stake-holders in its conclusions, to promote adoption of its recommendations. It produced considerable recommendations on additional information sources and data, and was followed by a detailed consultation with IPEC-Bangkok to discuss its recommendations and necessary action.

Following the incorporation of this meeting’s recommendations report, the final draft was prepared and forwarded to ILO-IPEC Bangkok and IPEC Geneva for comments and recommendations, which were included in this final version of the report.

1.4 Definitions and Terminology

1.4.1 Child Labour

The term “child” in this report will be used to refer to individuals under 18 years of age, in line with Thai and international norms. A number of categories of child employees can be identified in Thailand. The main categories of concern to this report, and to policies and programmes on child labour in Thailand, are outlined below. Because of differing legal situations, problems and policy challenges confronting each group, where relevant the targeted groups, problems and successes of programmes and policies will be considered separately for each group within this framework.

Most commonly, international discussions uses the term “child labour” to refer only to workers aged under 15. In Thailand, however, the term is more commonly used to refer to all children in employment, that is all employees under 18 years of age, and it is to that broader grouping that most projects are directed. That will thus be the definition used in this report. There are serious concern about many children aged from 15 to 18 working in inappropriate or dangerous conditions, including for example in the commercial sex industry.

The definition of “child labour” used in this report excludes individuals aged under 18 employed within the law and international standards. Where this group is being considered, the term “legal child workers” will be used. The term “child workers” will be used inclusively to cover all employees under the age of 18, that is both “legal child workers” and “child labour”.

Many policies, programmes and projects in Thailand are in fact broadly targeted at “child workers”, or at potential child workers, as for programme and project purposes it is difficult to separate children who are now “child labour” or at high risk of becoming victims of “child labour,” from those who are or will become “legal child workers.”

The “child labour” category can be further subdivided into the following groups.

(a) Children aged under 13 years. Thai law prohibits the employment of children younger than 13 years, so this group represents an area in which legal enforcement and action is most likely. This group may be broadly seen as fitting within the ILO definition of the “most intolerable forms of child labour,” with regard to the employment of very young children.

(b) Children aged 13 to 15 employed within the current legal framework. Thai law now allows for the employment of this group in a restricted range of occupations, as outlined in Chapter 2, although it is hoped that in the very near future Thailand will enactment a new law to enforce the ILO standard of ending employment of children under 15 years. In expectation of this change in Thai law, a number of programmes and policies target this group, and this report will adopt international norms in considering such employment undesirable, and something to be eliminated.

(c) Children aged 13-15 and 15-18 employed in prohibited occupations or under conditions which do not meet standards set out under Thai labour law (which currently varies between the two groups) or who are employed in circumstances not covered by Thai law (for example as homeworkers or in agriculture) but who are working in conditions which present dangers to their physical, mental or moral health.

This is the primary group in Thailand which would meet the ILO definition of the “most intolerable forms of child labour.” It most commonly includes:

(i) Bonded child labour, which usually occurs when parents or guardians receive advance wages for one or two years of a child’s labour, a situation which occurs particularly within the commercial sex industry and in factories, usually those operating on a small-scale or informal basis;

(ii) Other forms of employment within the commercial sex industry, or in “high risk” employment which is likely to lead to future employment in the sex industry (such as in some forms of restaurants and entertainment places); and,

(iii) Other employment likely to be hazardous to physical or mental health, including activities involving chemicals, hazardous tools or machinery, heavy lifting, excessive noise or dust, excessive working hours or in situations where child workers are at high risk of physical abuse.

1.4.2. Groups Included

This report will consider the situation of all child labour in Thailand, whether the individuals involved are recognised Thai citizens (that is, eligible for full nationality and rights), of uncertain nationality (which includes some hill tribe groups with only limited effective rights), of foreign nationality (whether their status within Thailand is legal, quasi-legal or undocumented), or stateless.

1.4.3. Policies and Programmes

Following the Terms of Reference of this report, it will consider the term “policies” to refer to a publicly-expressed commitment by a public or private institution setting out its objectives and priorities. The primary policy of concern to this report is obviously the policy of the Thai government on child labour, as expressed by the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet) but it is recognised the individual non-government organisations (NGOs), companies in the private sector and government organisations may also have separate (and sometimes conflicting) policies.

The term “programme” will be used to refer to a comprehensive and coherent set of interventions in a range of strategic sectors, with different target groups, over a significant time frame. (As in Thailand many programmes operate on a five-year cycle related to that of the National Economic and Social Development Plans, this is a common time-frame for programmes, and longer programmes are rare.) “Project” will be used to describe a planned undertaking of one or more activities to achieve certain objectives within a relatively short period (from months up to two or three years). Where terms used by implementing institutions for particular policies, programmes or projects appear to conflict with the above definitions, the formal title of the particular item will be used in this report, but its conflict with the above definitions noted.

1.4.4. “Sustainability”

This report is concerned with establishing the best practices for “sustainable action” against child labour. Sustainability may be defined as the quality of a practice being able to continue beyond an initial phase into the medium and long-term as part of established, standard practice of the operating organisation. So for example, if a project is funded by an external source for a fixed period, if it will then receive recurrent funding and support from local sources to continue while it remains appropriate and effective it may be considered as sustainable. An associated concept is that of “mainstreaming,” whereby a practice against child labour becomes standard in an agency or organisation not necessarily primarily or solely concerned with child labour issues. This is the primary approach which has been taken by the ILO/IPEC project in Thailand, in for example its promotion of training for labour inspectors which has encouraged them to concentrate on child labour issues while carrying out their normal inspection duties.

1.4.5 Specific National Terminology

The following definitions are provided particularly as references for international readers of this report, who may be unfamiliar with some common Thai terminology used.

(a) Hill tribes: This term refers to various ethnic minority groups, chiefly located in the north and west of Thailand in highland areas. As many of their home areas are remote and isolated, until recently many lived separately from the mainstream of Thai society, and they face considerable disadvantages, including linguistic, cultural and legal (relating often to an inability to prove Thai citizenship, or uncertain citizenship due to recent migration). Hill tribe children are at considerably higher risk of becoming child labour than children in the general Thai population, and the girls are at high risk of entering the commercial sex industry.

(b) Entertainment Places: This term refers to commercial enterprises such as bars, night clubs, tea houses and massage parlours, which are regulated by the Entertainment Places Act of 1966, which provides for their licencing and restricts their operation. It is illegal for children to work in such places, under the Act.

(c) Administrative divisions: Thailand is divided into 73 provinces, each of which has as its chief official a governor appointed by the Ministry of the Interior. Provinces are divided into amphoes, which in turn are sub-divided into tambons, each of which consists of a number of villages. Villages have elected heads, and following recent reforms some tambons are governed by elected councils, others still have appointed heads. The chief official in each amphoe is also appointed by the Ministry of the Interior.

(d) Buddhist Era: Many official Thai government documents date events by the Buddhist Era date, For example 1997 is B.E. 2540. Buddhist Era dates can be converted to Common Era dates by subtracting 543.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Study Aim

This study was prepared for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the aim of providing information and exploring and developing concepts to assist in the development of a policy instrument for ILO member states on the “best practices” for sustainable action against child labour. Considering progress over the past 15 years, with a particular focus on the last five years, it describes and seeks to assess the effectiveness and impact of measures taken in Thailand thus far, identifying the factors and conditions which have facilitated or hampered their implementation. Considering a variety of projects, programmes and policy approaches, it seeks to identify those which have “made a difference” in attitudes and practices of target groups, and to determine the essential elements or factors in their success, to provide guidelines for future policies and strategies.

Chapter 2 begins this report with a brief outline of the existing situation with regard to child labour in Thailand, considering the socio-economic context, trends and incidence of child labour, national legislation relating to child labour and Thailand’s international commitments on the issue. Chapter 3 outlines existing policies and programmes to combat child labour in Thailand, focusing on analysing how they came into being, particularly the vital actors and factors which led to their development and activation, their degree of success and factors which have assisted or hampered their operation. (To allow concentration on analysis of policies and programmes, detailed information on individual policies and programmes is contained in Appendix III.)

Chapter 4 considers the institutions and actors, ranging from the grassroots to the national and international level, both public and private, involved in combating child labour, their key responsibilities and the degree of coordination of programmes and networking between them. Chapter 5 moves on to consider the impact of international action against child labour on Thai institutions and policies. Working from this information and analysis, Chapter 6 offers conclusions on the successes, deficiencies and problems in the current approach to combating child labour in Thailand, with recommendations on improvements which might be made to increase the effectiveness of policies and programmes. Finally, Chapter 7 identifies a set of indicators to be used to measure the success of existing and future programmes.

1.2. Research Team

Project Director: Senator Dr. Saisuree Chutikul

Dr. Saisuree was Minister for the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for women, children, education and social development from 1992 to 1993, and has since 1994 has served as Adviser to the Office of the Prime Minister on Women, Children and Social Development, in which capacity she has supervised production of many Thai government publication on women’s and child issues. She is currently the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Women, Children and the Elderly. She was Secretary-General of the National Youth Bureau from 1983 to 1989. She was also the director of the project on National Policies, Perspective Plans and Programmes for Child Development, Youth Development and Women’s Development, Gifted Children, Street Children and Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances.

Author: Ms. Natalie Bennett, Independent Researcher and Editor, Bangkok.

Ms. Bennett was the primary author of Thailand’s Combined Second and Third Report of the Commission on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1996) completed while working as an editor for the Thai Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs. She was editor of the World Health Organisation Women’s Health and Development Country Report, Thailand (1998), author of the Desk Study on Private Sector Involvement in Skill Development for the Asian Development Bank (1996), and rapporteur at the United Nations Development Programme Asia/Africa Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women, Bangkok, July, 1997. She has a Bachelor of Arts, Hons. (Asian Studies) from the University of New England, Australia, and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Hons. from the University of Sydney.

Researchers: Ms. Chariya Khanthavit, Expert on Labour Protection Standards, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare

Ms. Khanthavit was the Director of the Labour Welfare Division in the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare from 1994 to 1997, after serving as the Director of the Woman and Child Labour Division from 1990 to 1994. She formerly had responsibility for IPEC in Thailand. She has been a consultant on labour administration for many organisations and was the author of Working Conditions for Special Service Girls, A Survey of the Bangkok Area (1992) and Thai Labour Administration and Globalization.

Ms. Rataya Kobsirikarn: Policy and Plan Analyst, Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister.

Ms Kobsirikarn has also been an assistant researcher on the project Child Labour in the Industrial Sector in Bangkok and Nearby, conducted by the National Committee on Health and Environment, National Commission on Women’s Affairs, and worked on the Evaluation Report for Strengthening the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s Programme on Child Labour, 1995. She has a Master of Arts (Linguistics) from Chulalongkorn University.

Assistant Researchers:

From the Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, research assistance and translation was provided by Ms. Sirikul Intarapanich and Ms. Anusorn Inkampaeng.

1.3. Methodology

The research team began preparation of this report with a desk review, collecting from as many sources as possible relevant quantitative and qualitative information sources, in both Thai and English. A virtually complete list of this material is contained within the Bibliography (Appendix I), as it became obvious during this process that the distribution of this list may be of use to future researchers.

The desk review revealed that over the past decade considerable advances, particularly in the areas of legal provisions, government services and development of concerned NGOs, had been made in addressing child labour issues in Thailand. There was, however, little information on the work which produced these developments or analysis available to explain why it was successful. Additionally, it was clear that while descriptions of former and existing projects and implemented or proposed policy changes are fairly readily available, there has been very little effective monitoring and evaluation of the degree of effective implementation of policies or the success of projects. (This is a deficiency identified by many observers of Thai programmes in many social areas, not just child labour.)

It was obviously neither the role of this study, nor feasible, to conduct full, detailed, individual analysis of each of the many policies and projects addressing various aspects of the child labour issue in Thailand conducted by a huge range of agencies. Instead, the researchers sought to focus on detailed examination of a variety of policy and project approaches, identifying their degree of success or failure, and the barriers and supportive factors affecting them, through a series of detailed interviews with relevant individuals and institutional representatives. By this method, they aimed to identify the “best practices” for producing sustainable action against child labour in Thailand.

A selection of the projects surveyed are detailed in case studies in Appendix III. These were chosen with the aim of providing the reader with a picture of the current climate in Thailand in which the projects operate (so they include where possible case studies of individuals who may have been affected by them), some detailed information on the operation of the projects, measures of their impacts and an examination of the factors affecting their results.

After completing the desk review, the research team conducted a large number of interviews with high-level government and non-government representatives and target groups, including working children, parents, employers, trainers, teachers and researchers to collect data and inform its analysis. These individuals and groups were selected in consultation with IPEC staff in Bangkok, from the individual knowledge of the researchers and by recommendations from other interviewees. In most cases these interviews were conducted individually in the researchers’ offices in Bangkok, but in some cases for logistical reasons group interviews were held.

The interviews were conducted in a loosely structured format. Researchers first briefly explained the nature of the research project. They then asked the interviewee to explain the project(s) addressing child labour issues in which they had been involved, focusing on their degree or success or failure, problems encountered and their possible or actual solutions. Interviewees were then asked to comment more broadly on their opinions on child labour issues in Thailand, the effectiveness of government and non-government activities to address them and any changes in direction or focus they would recommend. Finally, interviewees were offered a chance to make an comments they wished on any relevant topic, and asked to provide any documentation or material they felt might be of use to the researchers, including other possible interviewees. A list of the individuals consulted is included in Appendix V.

In order to ensure this report incorporated grass-roots views and perspectives, rather than only those of centralised authorities and individuals in the national capital Bangkok, the research team visited three provinces in which child labour, in different forms, is recognised as a particular problem; Sri Sa Ket (in north east Thailand), and Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai (in northern Thailand). These research visits aimed to obtain regional perspectives from areas recognised as significant sources of child labour. As Bangkok and surrounding areas are the primary areas for employment of child labour, relevant grassroots actors were able to be consulted there.

The format of this field research varied according to the availability of individuals, accessibility of organisations and recommendations of local officers. In Chiang Rai, one research team member attended, with an IPEC officer, a meeting and associated field trips conducted to discuss work on that province’s development of a provincial plan on child labour. The team member was thus able to both view interactions between the organisations and workers, both government and non-government, in a working environment, as well as to individually question senior government and non-government workers on their projects. In Sri Sa Ket, the full research team was able to focus on the grassroots level, visiting several projects in the poorest area of the province and speaking with child workers, parents, village-level officials and teachers, as well as provincial labour officials. In Chiang Mai, members of the research team met in a group session with government and non-government workers developing the provincial child labour plan for a discussion which focused on work in that area, as well as detailed discussion of some projects in the province. The team then visited one education and training project, and spoke with child flower sellers in the streets of Chiang Mai city.

Additionally, IPEC Bangkok organised a very valuable IPEC Partners Meeting, at which representatives of IPEC partners involved in programmes to combat child labour met to discuss their achievements, the problems and obstacles encountered, and other lessons learnt in the battle against child labour in Thailand. This meeting produced recommendations for policy and action which considerably influenced the recommendations of this report.

Finally, after the preparation of the first draft of this report, a senior-level consultative meeting was held with representatives of major national institutions involved in combating child labour in Thailand. This was designed both to validate the conclusions of the research team, and to ensure the full involvement of those institutions as stake-holders in its conclusions, to promote adoption of its recommendations. It produced considerable recommendations on additional information sources and data, and was followed by a detailed consultation with IPEC-Bangkok to discuss its recommendations and necessary action.

Following the incorporation of this meeting’s recommendations report, the final draft was prepared and forwarded to ILO-IPEC Bangkok and IPEC Geneva for comments and recommendations, which were included in this final version of the report.

1.4 Definitions and Terminology

1.4.1 Child Labour

The term “child” in this report will be used to refer to individuals under 18 years of age, in line with Thai and international norms. A number of categories of child employees can be identified in Thailand. The main categories of concern to this report, and to policies and programmes on child labour in Thailand, are outlined below. Because of differing legal situations, problems and policy challenges confronting each group, where relevant the targeted groups, problems and successes of programmes and policies will be considered separately for each group within this framework.

Most commonly, international discussions uses the term “child labour” to refer only to workers aged under 15. In Thailand, however, the term is more commonly used to refer to all children in employment, that is all employees under 18 years of age, and it is to that broader grouping that most projects are directed. That will thus be the definition used in this report. There are serious concern about many children aged from 15 to 18 working in inappropriate or dangerous conditions, including for example in the commercial sex industry.

The definition of “child labour” used in this report excludes individuals aged under 18 employed within the law and international standards. Where this group is being considered, the term “legal child workers” will be used. The term “child workers” will be used inclusively to cover all employees under the age of 18, that is both “legal child workers” and “child labour”.

Many policies, programmes and projects in Thailand are in fact broadly targeted at “child workers”, or at potential child workers, as for programme and project purposes it is difficult to separate children who are now “child labour” or at high risk of becoming victims of “child labour,” from those who are or will become “legal child workers.”

The “child labour” category can be further subdivided into the following groups.

(a) Children aged under 13 years. Thai law prohibits the employment of children younger than 13 years, so this group represents an area in which legal enforcement and action is most likely. This group may be broadly seen as fitting within the ILO definition of the “most intolerable forms of child labour,” with regard to the employment of very young children.

(b) Children aged 13 to 15 employed within the current legal framework. Thai law now allows for the employment of this group in a restricted range of occupations, as outlined in Chapter 2, although it is hoped that in the very near future Thailand will enactment a new law to enforce the ILO standard of ending employment of children under 15 years. In expectation of this change in Thai law, a number of programmes and policies target this group, and this report will adopt international norms in considering such employment undesirable, and something to be eliminated.

(c) Children aged 13-15 and 15-18 employed in prohibited occupations or under conditions which do not meet standards set out under Thai labour law (which currently varies between the two groups) or who are employed in circumstances not covered by Thai law (for example as homeworkers or in agriculture) but who are working in conditions which present dangers to their physical, mental or moral health.

This is the primary group in Thailand which would meet the ILO definition of the “most intolerable forms of child labour.” It most commonly includes:

(i) Bonded child labour, which usually occurs when parents or guardians receive advance wages for one or two years of a child’s labour, a situation which occurs particularly within the commercial sex industry and in factories, usually those operating on a small-scale or informal basis;

(ii) Other forms of employment within the commercial sex industry, or in “high risk” employment which is likely to lead to future employment in the sex industry (such as in some forms of restaurants and entertainment places); and,

(iii) Other employment likely to be hazardous to physical or mental health, including activities involving chemicals, hazardous tools or machinery, heavy lifting, excessive noise or dust, excessive working hours or in situations where child workers are at high risk of physical abuse.

1.4.2. Groups Included

This report will consider the situation of all child labour in Thailand, whether the individuals involved are recognised Thai citizens (that is, eligible for full nationality and rights), of uncertain nationality (which includes some hill tribe groups with only limited effective rights), of foreign nationality (whether their status within Thailand is legal, quasi-legal or undocumented), or stateless.

1.4.3. Policies and Programmes

Following the Terms of Reference of this report, it will consider the term “policies” to refer to a publicly-expressed commitment by a public or private institution setting out its objectives and priorities. The primary policy of concern to this report is obviously the policy of the Thai government on child labour, as expressed by the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet) but it is recognised the individual non-government organisations (NGOs), companies in the private sector and government organisations may also have separate (and sometimes conflicting) policies.

The term “programme” will be used to refer to a comprehensive and coherent set of interventions in a range of strategic sectors, with different target groups, over a significant time frame. (As in Thailand many programmes operate on a five-year cycle related to that of the National Economic and Social Development Plans, this is a common time-frame for programmes, and longer programmes are rare.) “Project” will be used to describe a planned undertaking of one or more activities to achieve certain objectives within a relatively short period (from months up to two or three years). Where terms used by implementing institutions for particular policies, programmes or projects appear to conflict with the above definitions, the formal title of the particular item will be used in this report, but its conflict with the above definitions noted.

1.4.4. “Sustainability”

This report is concerned with establishing the best practices for “sustainable action” against child labour. Sustainability may be defined as the quality of a practice being able to continue beyond an initial phase into the medium and long-term as part of established, standard practice of the operating organisation. So for example, if a project is funded by an external source for a fixed period, if it will then receive recurrent funding and support from local sources to continue while it remains appropriate and effective it may be considered as sustainable. An associated concept is that of “mainstreaming,” whereby a practice against child labour becomes standard in an agency or organisation not necessarily primarily or solely concerned with child labour issues. This is the primary approach which has been taken by the ILO/IPEC project in Thailand, in for example its promotion of training for labour inspectors which has encouraged them to concentrate on child labour issues while carrying out their normal inspection duties.

1.4.5 Specific National Terminology

The following definitions are provided particularly as references for international readers of this report, who may be unfamiliar with some common Thai terminology used.

(a) Hill tribes: This term refers to various ethnic minority groups, chiefly located in the north and west of Thailand in highland areas. As many of their home areas are remote and isolated, until recently many lived separately from the mainstream of Thai society, and they face considerable disadvantages, including linguistic, cultural and legal (relating often to an inability to prove Thai citizenship, or uncertain citizenship due to recent migration). Hill tribe children are at considerably higher risk of becoming child labour than children in the general Thai population, and the girls are at high risk of entering the commercial sex industry.

(b) Entertainment Places: This term refers to commercial enterprises such as bars, night clubs, tea houses and massage parlours, which are regulated by the Entertainment Places Act of 1966, which provides for their licencing and restricts their operation. It is illegal for children to work in such places, under the Act.

(c) Administrative divisions: Thailand is divided into 73 provinces, each of which has as its chief official a governor appointed by the Ministry of the Interior. Provinces are divided into amphoes, which in turn are sub-divided into tambons, each of which consists of a number of villages. Villages have elected heads, and following recent reforms some tambons are governed by elected councils, others still have appointed heads. The chief official in each amphoe is also appointed by the Ministry of the Interior.

(d) Buddhist Era: Many official Thai government documents date events by the Buddhist Era date, For example 1997 is B.E. 2540. Buddhist Era dates can be converted to Common Era dates by subtracting 543.

Chapter III: In-Country Action Against Child Labour

3.1 Creating Awareness and Mobilising Actors

The first recent period of action of child labour in Thailand can be traced back to 1979, declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of the Child. This led to the holding of the National Symposium on the Working Child in Bangkok in October 1979, jointly organised by ILO and the Department of Labour. The report of that conference states that:

“Although the National Symposium was of the opinion that the ratification of ILO Convention No 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment should not be made at present due to several factors, Mr. Abeywira expressed his appreciation that there was a consensus of the Symposium on the proposal for a revision of the minimum age if the Compulsory Education Act was to be put into effect by the government.”

That conference appears to have particularly focused on education and poverty issues, but without a great amount of research to inform or support its conclusions. There appears to have been very little practical outcome from its work, as it would seem the level of development in Thailand and among Thai government institutions at that time was not sufficient to develop the will and ability to tackle the issue of child labour. It did, however, in conjunction with other events associated with the International Year, act as an initial consciousness-raiser, which slowly bore fruit over the next few years.

In the following few years little material addressing the issue was produced, although a gradual increase in the general level of data collection meant from the late 1970s reasonably reliable data collected by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on labour issues provided at least basic data on the age and number of child workers. NGOs also began to develop, with the establishment of the Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CPCR) and the coalition which became the Foundation for Children’s Development, both in 1981.

What impetus there was during the early 1980s to raise awareness of child labour issues came primarily from international organisations. Thus an ILO-commissioned paper in 1985 examined “activities and programmes concerning the conditions of working children in industry” and found in effect there were virtually no programmes directed specifically at the issue, although there was at this time rising concern about low educational and occupational skill levels, mainly focused towards the employment and industrial problems this created.

But after this period of slow foundation work, considerable impetus to rising awareness of the issues of child labour was given by the Second Asian Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, held in Bangkok in February 1988. Funded by UNICEF and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (IPSCAN), with support from a number of international non-government organisations (NGOs), it was organised by Thailand’s National Youth Bureau with support from the then Departments of Public Welfare and Labour. This conference led to the commissioning of research and preparation of reports on a wide variety of children’s issues focusing primarily on issues of appropriate physical, psychological and social development, but also including the issue of child labour.

The conference also had an important “consciousness-raising” effect, exposing government officials, non-government workers and academics attending the conference to a wide range of issues on which there had previously been little or no emphasis. Examination of the list of Thai participants and organisers reveals many of the names who today are key figures in child labour and children’s rights issues.

Concrete results were seen in subsequent activism from the National Youth Bureau, which obtained dedicated funds and commissioned further research into child labour issues. This work involved the Department of Labour (then in the Ministry of the Interior), the Ministry of Health, and Thammasart University researchers, which led to the production of a considerable range of data on child labour. This was used by the National Youth Bureau, with support from the Department of Labour, to advocate an increase in the minimum legal age of employment from 12 to 13 years, approved by Cabinet on June 14, 1988, as one of 27 measures to address child labour. (See Appendix IV.)

At this period, work on child labour issues was still focused primarily in the government sector, with only a few small, mainly welfarist, efforts from non-government agencies. As is common in Thai structures, this effort was not so much that of institutions, but of committed individuals in positions of sufficient power and influence within structures to “make a difference”.

Their efforts were assisted by increasing international awareness of the issue of child labour and subsequent pressure put on Thailand through threats of trade sanctions and international disapproval. Thus the paper presented to Cabinet in 1988 specifically stated:

“Since B.E. 2527 (1983), many international organisations have seriously criticised Thailand on the exploitation of child labour to gain economic and political advantages. For instance, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has criticised the abuse of child labour in the textile industry in Thailand. AFL/CIO in the United States also urged their Government to cut the GSP privilege to Thailand on grounds of the abuse of child labour in the Country.”

About this time increasing international interest in the issue was also important in ensuring attention was paid to child labour issues in a number of relevant internationally-supported development efforts in Thailand. So for example the RICE (Regional Centres for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment Project), supported by UNDP and ILO, in 1988-89 conducted one of the first detailed surveys of children’s working conditions and the circumstances which led them to early employment, conducted in the provinces of Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Samut Songkhram.

There was also related development of NGOs associated with children’s issues. These were also involved in supporting research, one example being a study of the rural roots of urban child labour conducted through the Social Research Institute of Chulalongkorn University, backed by the Centre of Concern for Child Labour Foundation of Children’s Development and the Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Foundation for Children, published in 1983.

Throughout the early 1980s, there was also increased national interest in family planning and child welfare, a reflection of the then very young Thai population and concern about high birth rates. (These rates were very quickly reduced once family planning services were widely available.) Thus the Fourth Five-Year National Economic and Social Development Plan (1979-84) noted that people aged under 27 years comprised more than half of the population and focused on issues of nutrition (particularly for younger children) and education and training. The following plan tightened its focus on educational drop-out rates and mentioned for the first time particular health concerns about working children. Further discussion of more recent national plans is included under Section 3.2.2 below. General welfare concerns thus created an environment in which in particular health concerns of young workers could be raised and regarded as a legitimate development issue.

In summary, then, by the late 1980s there was concern within the public and non-government sectors among a number of key individuals about the issue of child labour, focusing particularly on children aged under 15 working in dangerous or abusive conditions. Efforts by international agencies were important in developing an awareness of the issue, but central to its maintenance and legitimacy was the development of a body of credible research documenting the actual conditions being endured by children and the causes of their entry into employment. As will be charted below, this close link between international organisations and key public sector actors remains central to mobilising government action and addressing child labour issues to the present day.

A further spur, for both these workers, and for new actors, particularly from the non-government sector, came from the signing of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1992, following the signing of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1989. A sub-committee on child rights was established within the Office of the Prime Minister, including members of parliament, legal experts, government officials and members of NGOs and international organisations. It has been an important factor in raising consciousness of participating individuals and institutions. The signing of the convention has promoted the development of a small number of non-government organisations focusing particularly on “children rights,” a new concept in Thai society, some of which have addressed child labour issues.

One specific area of child labour issues has attracted a very high-profile from the government and non-government sectors, international organisations and the Thai media; that of children’s involvement in the commercial sex industry. Throughout the past decade they have worked closely with activist women within the public sector to change government policies on the sex industry and introduce effective programmes, both government and non-government, aimed at preventing the entry of girls into the industry or rescuing girls from it.

Once again, international action was important in spurring these developments. Beginning about the early 1990s, there was considerable international attention, from the media and advocacy groups, focusing on the size and importance of the commercial sex industry in Thailand, particularly as it related to the rapid increase in tourism in the country. Within Thailand, among women’s groups in particular, there was also a rapid spread of awareness of the issue, with the signing of CEDAW focusing attention on the industry from a human rights perspective. Slightly later, the signing of the CRC also had an important impact. As research was conducted, it became obvious that many entrants to the industry were under the age of 18, and their plight became a particular focus of attention.

The spread of the HIV virus and recognition of its potentially catastrophic effect on Thai society was also an important factor in focusing attention on the issue. After the original focus on tourism as a cause of children’s entry into the commercial sex industry, there was increasing recognition that the major problem lay not with tourists, but within the structure of Thai society which supported the vast bulk of the commercial sex industry. There have thus been a very large number of awareness-raising activities directed at the general population, on a scale not seen in addressing other child labour issues. Research suggests this has had some effect in changing social attitudes towards the use of commercial sexual services (in combination with the fear induced by the HIV virus). Law enforcement officials have also been more effectively mobilised in this area than in any other child labour issue, producing something of a crackdown on the employment of child commercial sex workers.

Funds for research, advocacy and action work on issues surrounding the commercial sex industry have been very readily available, encouraging the entry of many actors into work addressing the commercial sex industry. Most major government agencies, non-government women’s and children’s organisations, welfarist organisations and international organisations now have programmes addressing these issues.

International pressure and concerns about Thailand’s international image have remained important factors which can be used as tools by these groups, as evidenced by the fact that Thailand’s Council of Ministers finally passed a new Action Plan to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children one day before the 1996 Stockholm Conference on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (although government and non-government workers spent many months developing and advocating the plan before its final approval by Cabinet).

The above analysis has attempted to consider government agencies and NGOs as separate actors within child labour issues, and certainly they have played somewhat different roles, with NGOs sometimes being prepared to be more overtly activist and radical in their positions, but it should be noted that within Thailand, many individuals have roles within both groups. One individual may be a university researcher, may hold an official post within the bureaucracy, and also be the key person in an NGO, thus to some extent this division is artificial within the Thai context.

3.2 Policies on Child Labour

3.2.1. Political Commitment

Generally speaking, politicians are not significant actors in the issue of child labour in Thailand, as is the case with other social issues. In the 1960s, Thailand was described as a “bureaucratic polity,” in which bureaucrats, both civilians and military, basically maintained a hold on politics, and particularly on policy making and policy direction. This is a situation which, at least in the area of social policy, has scarcely changed to the present day.

Political parties are weak in Thailand, with only very loose links between particular parties and policy positions. The election of 1993 presented perhaps the clearest differentiation between contesting parties, with some clearly identified with conservative, up-country businesses with close military links and others with the modern urban middle class, more progressive urban business and generally more democratic approaches. In subsequent elections, however, that clear division has somewhat broken down. Members of parliament frequently switch parties at each election, taking their personal standing with them in return to offers of advancement, such as Cabinet positions.

This situation may change at least somewhat in the future, however, with the adoption and implementation in October 1997 of a new constitution designed to significantly change the relationship between various elements of the government, particularly the legislature and the executive and implemented, with, for example, members of parliament being forced to resign their seats if they become ministers. If its objectives are achieved, it may promote a more “issue-based” approach to politics, although the low level of political education and understanding in rural electorates (which provide the majority of seats) will remain a barrier to these goals. An election is expected under this constitution in about the middle of this year.

Major parties do adopt policy platforms before elections, which are then incorporated in the statements by governments, but these are little more than broad statements of good intent, with only campaigning effect, and usually barely distinguishable from one another. For example, the then government policy on women, children and the disadvantaged, as presented to Parliament on July 26, 1996, stated its intentions as:

“(1) To strictly implement measures for women’s welfare, protecting them from being exploited and preventing child and young women entering commercial sex activity;

(2) To support children to have physical, mental, intellectual and ethical development, focusing on coordination between the governmental and non-governmental agencies; and

(3) To support the institution of the family, government and non-governmental agencies, community organisations, religious institutions and the mass media to play a role to prevent and solve problems of, and develop, children and youth in distress, so that they can have a peaceful, happy life, including actively preventing and solving child labour and child prostitution problems”.

One notable exception to these comments was the commitment before an international audience given by then Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai in 1992 to abolish child prostitution in Thailand. While representing an unusually straightforward and clear statement which deserves special note, the primary impetus encouraging its formulation and delivery came from within the bureaucracy. Mr Chuan also made a statement on November 2, 1992, that there “must not be unfair child labouring by assigning the concerned agencies to take serious actions”.

Prior to this, the technocrat government of Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, with ministers appointed chiefly from within the bureaucracy, which operated following the 1992 military coup and before elections in 1993, began early government action, particularly against commercial sexual exploitation, with a series of unprecedented raids on brothels and other businesses offering sexual services, together with public pronouncements which began to raise public awareness of the issue. Mr Panyarachun also stated a clear commitment of addressing broader child labour issues.

A few individual politicians, particularly female politicians, have taken action, often in response to NGO lobbying or pleas from individual constituents such as parents of victims, to assist in particular efforts, particularly rescue of children in seriously abusive conditions, and their presence is sometimes useful in ensuring fair and humane treatment of victims and prosecution of offenders. They also generally offer their support to attempts by government and non-government organisations to work towards policy change, but they are very much acting as individuals, rather than within a broader political framework, and such efforts tend to be sporadic, and reactive rather than proactive.

3.2.2. Objectives and Strategies

(a) National Policies and Plans Against Child Labour

In Thailand, national policy and plans of action in Thailand are invariably linked in a single document, and for this reason both policy and programmes at the national level will be considered together in this section.

The first significant step towards a concerted national policy and plan of action on child labour was taken in 1988, when Cabinet adopted a list of 27 measures to tackle the problem. (See Appendix IV.) The impetus for the development and promotion of this package came chiefly from within a few committed, high-level individuals within the bureaucracy, with their efforts assisted, as noted above, by international concern and adverse international publicity about the issue in Thailand. Some of these measures were simple and direct, such as the raising of the minimum age of employment to 13 and the direction to improve protective provisions in the Labour Protection Act. Many of the other measures were, however, extremely general and without clear directions on implementation such as “intensify efforts in enforcement to ensure children complete their compulsory education” and providing “more educational opportunities to the poor”.

Many of the measures resulted in the development of small pilot schemes, or simply acknowledged those already in existence, such as item 7, on “promotion of health and hygiene”, which referred to an existing Bangkok metropolitan programme, and broad implementation of many of its directives was either very slow or non-existent. For example, the Cabinet provided for the provision of rewards for members of the public who provided information which led to the successful prosecution of employers for child labour offences, but, while efforts continue, the administrative details of these scheme have still not been agreed and it has thus not been implemented. The Cabinet accepted as long-term goals the amendment of the compulsory education act to increase the specified period from six to nine years and the increase in the minimum age of employment to 15. Neither has yet been achieved, nearly 10 years later.

The 1988 Cabinet-approved measures were an important step in the development of efforts against child labour in Thailand, particularly as an indication of official awareness and concern about the issue, but by no means represented a coordinated and effective national policy and plan, a conclusion which can also be drawn about a similar set of 15 measures adopted by the Cabinet in 1993. These were:

1. To speed up labour inspection and labour protection law enforcement;

2. To launch a national campaign against exploitation of child labour and seek cooperation from different partners;

3. To provide information for community leaders and the general public on proper development of child labour; 4. To meet with job placement offices to inform them about regulations on the use of child labour;

5. To meet with enterprise owners to inform them about the use of child labour and labour protection law; 6. Registration of child migrant labour;

7. Set up special committees for child labour protection at the central and provincial levels;

8. Seek cooperation from hospitals in Bangkok and the provinces to report on suspected cases of child labour abuse and torture;

9. Set up labour inspection offices in 36 districts in Bangkok;

10. Increase the number of labour inspectors appointed from government agencies;

11. Extension of six years compulsory education to nine years;

12. Skill development promotion for non-school children under 15 years;

13. Training of labour inspectors for efficiency improvement;

14. Set up a hot-line centre for public reporting of cases of child labour exploitation; and,

15. Increase the degree of punishment of labour protection law.

Of these measures, numbers 1, 9, 10, 13, and 14 can be said to have clearly been implemented, while there have also been steps towards implementing 2, 3, 4,5 and 7, with varying degrees of effectiveness and reach. In many cases pilot schemes and efforts covering selected areas have been begun, but many of these suffer from uncertain funding situations and difficulties in extending beyond the pilot stage, as will be discussed in considerable detail below. While representing an important series of measures, these 1993 Cabinet measures still fall short of what could be considered as a coordinated national policy and plan.

It was not until last year (1997) that a coordinated national policy and plan against child labour came into effect. “The Child Labour Problem: Prevention and Solution Plan, 1997-2001” was developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MOLSW), beginning with a consideration of the measures agreed in 1988 and 1992 by the Cabinets at that time and considering the degree of success and failure in activating the government decisions. (A copy of the Plan is included in appendix IV.) The plan is quite frank in indicating the limitations of these measures and the difficulties in their implementation. It states that as many of the proposals in both sets of measures were general in nature and have not been adequately funded or activated, the new plan is effectively an attempt to systematise the national approach to the problem of child labour and develop an effective and practical framework for action.

The Prevention and Solution Plan broadly follows from the earlier 27 measures, adopting some of its long-term objectives, such as the raising of the minimum age of employment to 15 years, and continuing statements of commitment to enforcement of the child labour law and protection of children. It has yet, however, to be operationalised in terms of budget allocations or specific programmes, and thus presents guidelines rather than plans.

Major funding and technical support for the development of the 1997 policy and plan, which was developed over a five-year period, was provided by ILO’s IPEC programme. This international support, and high-level bureaucratic support from influential individuals was vital in maintaining focus and resources for the development of this plan.

Two major consultative meetings were held in Bangkok to refine the proposed plan, involving representatives of major relevant government agencies, non-government agencies and the private sector. The plan remains, however, heavily government-focused, not surprising since the non-government sector remains very small and fragmented. NGO-government cooperation is more frequently seen at the regional level, and in specific programmes, rather than in general policy issues. Within the government, despite attendance of obviously related government organisations such as the Ministry of Education and the Department of Social Welfare at these meetings, the 1997 Policy and Plan is largely regarded as an MOLSW document, and it thus remains difficult to fully involve these and other important agencies in its implementation, particularly in ensuring appropriate budget allocations and directives from senior officers are made. Private sector interest, for reasons which will be discussed below, is very limited.

As will be evident from the above discussion, national attempts to prevent child labour have consisted primarily of prescriptive control measures, such as laws, regulations and bureaucratic directions, an approach broadly seen in all areas of social policy and a reflection of the strong “top-down” nature of official structures and sometimes of immediate, little-considered responses to international pressures. There has been little or no debate about the appropriateness of this response.

There is strong support among a minority of child labour workers, particularly in the non-government sector, for an alternative approach of using a “service” orientated approach, including actions such as offering support and assistance to employers of child workers, to child workers themselves and to their families, with the primary concern on aiding children’s healthy development, rather than enforcing rigid laws or criteria. Mr. Sanphasit Koompraphant of the Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights said: “If we focus on control, then child labour is pushed underground, and we cannot tackle the children’s problems. If we change to a service policy, it will be like a hospital – people are happy to go to a hospital to be helped when they are ill – and we will get cooperation from employers, families and children and they will give us information.”

Realistically, however, such a change in approach is unlikely, due to the nature and approach of government structures and the difficulty in presenting such an approach as a positive, forward step, rather than an increase in tolerance of a situation not considered internationally acceptable.

(b) National Policies and Plans Against Forced Labour

Thailand does not have a specific policy and plan against forced labour, but does have the National Policy and Plan of Action for the Prevention and the Eradication of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, adopted in 1996, which addresses the main area of forced labour in Thailand. The adoption of this plan, in conjunction with a new Prostitution Prevention and Suppression Act (See Appendix IV), was the culmination of more than 10 years of concerted effort by government and non-government women’s organisations. The new law widened the definition of a “brothel” to reduce policing difficulties due to legal technicalities, substantially increased the penalties for brothel owners, procurers and traffickers of girls and women, and introduced penalties for parents who knowingly sell their children into prostitution (although there has not yet been a prosecution under this clause). There are also explicit penalties for officials who fail to carry out their duties in enforcing the law.

As does the national policy and plan against child labour discussed above, the policy against commercial sexual exploitation focuses in terms of prevention on the importance of extending the period of education available, particularly to girls, and also highlights the need to use teaching methods “that enable a child to think, to uphold moral principles and be able to choose a way of life with human dignity”. In dealing with the victims of trafficking, particularly the child victims, it seeks to improve the provision of “protection and vocational development” to these victims. Under the previous legislation these girls and women were sent to a small number of institutions run by the Department of Public Welfare which were largely viewed by the victims as prisons. The new legislation provides for institutions in each province, to be supervised by a committee with government and non-government representatives, designed to be more flexible, caring and appropriate to the needs of rescued victims. It has not yet, however, proved possible to effectively put into operation this part of the legislation and plan.

A series of four major forums was held after the enactment of the new anti-prostitution law, in each region of Thailand, directed towards senior-level officials such as provincial governors, judges, senior prosecutors and police chiefs, but many difficulties remain in attempting to ensure all levels of the judicial system are aware of its provisions and intentions, and are prepared to carry them out. Enforcement at all levels, due to a lack of knowledge and resources, corruption and even involvement of officials in the commercial sex industry, continues, however, to be of limited effectiveness.

Pressure from women’s organisations, sympathetic senior political and bureaucratic figures, aided by concern about Thailand’s international image, has however meant that the level of visible commercial sex workers aged under 18 years has decreased, and high-profile enterprises, such as those catering to foreign tourists, generally comply with the 18-year age minimum. Other types of enterprises, such as restaurants and entertainment places, particularly those using undocumented or semi-documented migrants, remain a serious problem in this area, however, as does continued transport of children from Thailand to other countries to work in the commercial sex industry.

(c) National Policies and Plans on Children’s Welfare

In 1990, the National Youth Bureau completed an evaluation framework for child development based on basic minimum needs and services for children, which sets out age-related goals and services which should be provided. By implication it is suggested the state has some responsibility to ensure these are provided. This is, however, a very general framework, and difficulties in its implementation arise since the National Youth Bureau is a coordinating, rather than operating, agency, and thus has few programmes of its own to ensure its enactment. Other action agencies, such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the MOLSW, have their own frameworks on which the Bureau’s guidelines have little impact. It is thus of minimal importance in the battle against child labour.

(d) National Development Plans

The rise in the interest of the position of children in general in the Fourth and Fifth National Economic and Social Development Plans is charted above. The Sixth Plan (1987-1991) continued the earlier stress on human and labour quality, with the addition for the first time of an additional emphasis on workplace safety. The Seventh Plan incorporated the main decisions of the important 1988 Cabinet-approved measures, including the intention to raise compulsory schooling to nine years and the increase in minimum age of employment to 15 years.

The current Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001) has the clearest yet statements on child labour. This development is in part a result of the gradually-building momentum in pushing for action from within the bureaucracy and in part because of the higher than ever before level of grassroots consultations involved in its preparation, including particularly involvement of NGO, including those concerned with human rights issues.

It sets as priorities the acceleration and “prompt enforcement” of legislation increasing the minimum age for labour from 13 to 15 and the assurance in the areas of child labour not covered by current legislation “of protective measures and provision of decent welfare benefits for young labourers, both in the agricultural sector and informal sector”. It also states the need to ensure “understanding of the issue of child labour by community leaders and labour union leaders” and to “encourage them to assist in protecting young workers”. The need to encourage employers to provide or improve on the welfare of child employees, particularly with regard to education and training, recreation and quality of life, is also stressed.

Addressing the issue of a particularly disadvantaged groups, what it terms “child wanderers,” or in other terms homeless children, the plan states the need to “develop and efficient and systematic process for protecting” their safety, and highlights the need to “encourage an improvement in the attitudes and working methods of public officials in promoting the improved status of distressed children,” including the homeless, including changes in the judicial system.

The Eighth Plan was however drawn up largely before the nature and degree of the current economic difficulties became evident, and its focus on human resource development including child labour and rights, may be diluted by a review now underway of its structure and by cutbacks in funding for government projects and agencies.

It is also hard to establish any direct impact of the plan, and its importance lies more in its evidence of changing attitudes at high levels in the bureaucracy, with an increasing stress on developing human resources, rather than building of physical infrastructure. The move during its formulation towards a more grasroots-influenced approach, with consultative meetings held around the country with efforts to attract a broad range of groups and individuals, is also indicative of attitudinal change among senior planners which may be of importance in future planning, including that for child labour.

(e) Private Sector/NGO Policies

An important meeting in 1994, organised by the National Council for Child and Youth Development and funded by IPEC, attempted to develop a coordinated approach to the issue of child labour among NGOs. The meeting reached two main conclusions. Firstly, it highlighted the need to classify children into different target groups, such as those at school, children ready to work, child workers in the labour market, and child labour (i.e. those whose rights were being violated, including forced labour). Secondly, it concluded that while the government was chiefly concerned with strengthening legal protection against child labour, NGOs should be concentrating on broadening knowledge of the frequency, nature and causes of violation of children’s rights and maintaining current data on the situation of children not protected by law.

Some NGOs, particularly in Bangkok, have followed and developed this focus on children’s rights, often heavily influenced by the CRC rather than simply concerns about child labour, but it cannot be said there is a broad, agreed NGO policy on addressing child labour. NGOs may cooperate with partner organisations, either other NGOs or government organisations, for particular projects, but generally their directions are set by their key individuals. However, as most funding is from international sources, either inter-governmental organisations or international non-government organisations, donor focus and priorities are generally more important in determining direction and policy than local interests. NGOs have had very little success in developing local sources of funding, and the current economic downturn means this situation is unlikely to change into the medium term. This is thus another way in which international concerns impact on the approach to child labour issues in Thailand.

There has been only one case of a coordinated employers’ approach to the issue of child labour. In 1994-95 six seminars were held in Bangkok and regional areas, organised by the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT) with support from ILO/IPEC. These were primarily consciousness-raising exercises which brought the issues of child labour to the attention of employers. Roles for employers were identified in protecting and offering opportunities for child workers to develop, including skills training and education and spiritual and emotional development. Most realistically, the seminars concluded ECOT could be an important focal point for ensuring the dissemination of information on legal provisions controlling the employment of child workers.

It would appear, however, that since these seminars there have been few developments in implementing these intentions. In any case, major employers’ organisations are likely to be of limited use in attempts to address the issues of child labour, since most of their members are large or medium-sized businesses which employ few if any child workers, and if they do engage in such employment are anyway likely to know of and follow legal provisions. Such organisations are not an effective way to reach small-scale and informal sector employers who are the primary employers of child workers, and of child labour.

Efforts to involve employers’ organisations in work against child labour are further complicated by the fact that there are a significant number of organisations which claim to speak for either major business sectors, or for all areas of business, but which effectively compete against each other. The same barrier existing in the trade union area, with approximately eight major confederations seeking to represent unions which in Thailand are primarily enterprise-based.

Two small national projects have been developed involving unions, one completed and one now in operation. A training programme scheduled to be completed in October 1997 aims to train 50 union leaders in child labour issues, and equip 15 of them to become trainers on the issue and hopefully to conduct further workshops on their own initiative. (See Appendix III, Case I.) In 1996, the Trade Unions of Leather and Textile Industries of Thailand conducted a small awareness raising exercise in a number of enterprises in Samut Prakarn Province (near Bangkok). This was judged successful in changing attitudes of those participating, with an initial scorn and disinterest being replaced by concern and awareness.

There is also union representation on the National Steering Committee on Child Labour, ensuring at least input from that sector in selection and direction of action programmes. Attempts to encourage proposals for further union-conducted programmes have however been unsuccessful, reflecting the fact that the relatively fragmented and weak unions, concerned almost solely with the pay, conditions and job security of their members (particularly in the current economic climate), do not place a priority on child labour issues.

(f) International Cooperation

The major area of Thai-international cooperation on the issue of child labour is the ILO/IPEC project, in which Thailand was one of the first six participating countries, with the programme beginning in 1992 and committed to continue until 2002. In March 1993, a National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCOCL) was established within the Department of Labour, then part of the Ministry of Interior, with representatives from various government organisations with responsibilities related to children, NGO representatives, employers, workers’ organisations and academics. When the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare was split from the Ministry of Interior, the NSCOCL moved with it. Among other work, the NSCOCL has the responsibility of reviewing and approving IPEC programme proposals and monitoring and evaluating the progress of approved programmes.

The Thai government also has a long-standing agreement with UNICEF to jointly develop, fund and otherwise support programmes directed towards what were previously known as “children in especially difficult circumstances” and are now termed “children in special need for protective measures”, which includes a number of categories of child labour, particularly children in the commercial sex industry and street children. Discussion of attempts to coordinate these efforts with those of other agencies, are contained in Chapter 5.

3.2.3. Implementation Mechanisms

(a) Policy-Level Mechanisms on Child Labour

The National Child Labour Protection Committee (NCLPC) was set up in 1992. It has responsibility for overseeing government efforts on child labour, providing policy directions and proposals on laws, regulations and initiatives to be considered by the Council of Ministers and monitoring and evaluating government policies, programmes and projects on child labour. It is chaired by the Minister of Labour with the secretary being the Director-General of the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW). Members are primarily high-level government officials from relevant ministries such as health and education, in addition to the MOLSW, appointed through their position rather than as individuals, in addition to a small number of individuals, primarily representatives of major NGOs and researchers and other experts. The secretariat for the committee is the Woman and Child Protection Unit in the MOLSW (described in detail below). According to its original mandate the NCLPC is to meet three times per year.

The NCLPC has however, unfortunately, been largely ineffective and has met only very irregularly. Under its current structure, it is effectively dissolved when the government changes, as it has five times since the committee’s establishment, and must be reconstituted and confirmed by the new government.

There are a number of reasons for the ineffectiveness of the NCLPC and its sub-committees. Firstly, due to the commonly short terms of Thai governments, the chairperson usually changes regularly, and is not generally a person with any particular interest in the issue of child labour, and has no time to develop such an interest.

Without impetus from the chairperson, responsibility for calling meetings and determining their agendas falls on the secretariat, which is not equipped for the task, either in terms of skills, experience, motivation or time. Those responsible indicate they simply feel unable to decide what should be included on agendas, and due to the amount of work required to draft an agenda, produce minutes of the meeting, etcetera, are little inclined to do so. They indicate that even if a meeting is held and directives are handed down, there are no resources to implement these directions. Within the MOLSW structure, there is a Technical and Planning Division, responsible for research and academic-style analysis, which might be seen as having responsibility for offering assistance, but not having any special interest in the area and without clear direction, it does not take any action.

Other members of the committee are unlikely to take a lead, as they also are likely to change regularly, being appointed by position rather than name. Regular reshuffles in the Thai civil service mean turnover of these individuals is likely to occur at approximately two-year intervals, and any individuals with particular interest in the issue of child labour are thus unlikely to remain, while others will not have the opportunity to develop an interest.

The committee in fact did not meet in 1995, had one meeting in 1996, and finally met on July 8, 1997, almost one year after the government of Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudt took power. A copy of the minutes of that meeting are included in Appendix IV. Examination of those reveals the very general nature of its deliberations and lack of concrete proposals and structures.

The government has changed again since then, and since under the new constitution an election is to be held within approximately six months, the committee and sub-committees will be unlikely to have taken any real action before it is again effectively forced to be reconstituted and to begin anew under the chairpersonship of a new minister. In an attempt to address this problem, a sub-committee has been appointed to draft rules and regulations to make the committee a permanent one which will continue even if the government changes.

The National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCOCL), discussed above, was originally established as a sub-committee of the NCLPC, but due to the unsatisfactory nature of the committee was later established as a separate entity, attached to the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the MOLSW.

A sub-committee of this committee conducts preliminary screening of project proposals, with representation from various government departments, workers, employers and IPEC. The structure was created in light of recognition of the need for more detailed examination of proposals, including assistance in drafting or strengthening project design, and addressing difficulties such as translation and meeting reporting requirements. The sub-committee considered 35 project proposals from 26 agencies submitted for support for the 1998-9 biennium.

The NSCOCL is served by a secretariat with a current total of five full-time staff (initially six). It was established in 1995, primarily at the instigation of IPEC, within the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the MOLSW. The Ministry provides support in the form of staff and facilities, while IPEC funds its operations and provides equipment such as computers. Initially all of the staff were supported by IPEC, but now two of the administrative positions are funded by IPEC, with the remainder being government officers. The secretariat is sometimes also known as the Child Labour Coordinating Unit and the IPEC Administration and Coordination Office.

The NSCOCL secretariat has no formal legal status created by regulations within the government, a reflection of the situation in which many organisations, such as the NCWA, began, but now appears to be fairly well established. It arranges regular meetings, approximately bi-monthly, and monitors basic administration of IPEC projects within the MOLSW. It can be seen as one of the chief examples of the success of the IPEC approach of “mainstreaming” child labour efforts, having been successfully established within a broad bureaucratic structure and well on the way to sustainable operation.

The office also monitors the mass media, including television news, to record reports on child labour, although unfortunately at present no analysis or reporting of the material collected is carried out. It appears broadly to function effectively, although its head indicated that, as staff were drawn from a range of other duties, training to provide awareness of child labour issues, and to provide contact with target groups, would be valuable.

A useful comparison with the problems of the NCLPC can be made with the National Committee for the Eradication of Commercial Sex, a sub-committee of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs with responsibility for overseeing the National Policy and Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Although structured along much the same lines in terms of membership, the NCWA meets regularly and has an active network of about twenty sub-committees which feed information and proposals into its agenda.

Examination of the differences between the two organisations shows that the NCWA has a much larger secretariat (a staff of over 40 in the Office of the NCWA, within the Office of the Prime Minister), but perhaps more importantly has several long-term, committed members who are able to provide encouragement and direction to the also rotating membership of senior civil servants. As a model for the “best practice” for operation of high-level coordinating committees within Thai bureaucratic structures, it has a great deal to offer, as does the Child Rights Committee outlined below.

(b) Policy-Level Mechanisms on Child’s Rights

The sub-committee on Child Rights was established under the National Youth Commission in August 1989, as part of Thailand’s preparations to become a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It includes members of parliament, senior government officials, members of NGOs and international organisations and individual experts, who make up 14 out of the 24 committee members. It has responsibilities much like those of the NCWA and NCLPC, suggesting modifications to laws and policies and working to promote children’s rights to government officials and the general public. It also prepared Thailand’s report on Thailand’s implementation of the convention. The fact that the majority of its members are appointed as interested individuals rather than as holders of a set position, the heavy involvement of NGOs, and the presence of some highly active and activist members has ensured the effectiveness of this committee.

(c) Special Implementation Mechanisms

The primary government unit with responsibility for immediate action on child labour is the Women and Child Labour Division, within the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, in the MOLSW in Bangkok. Its five staff have responsibility for overseeing inspections and protecting children in Bangkok in conjunction with the 19 area officers of the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare. In addition, it has responsibility for setting policy and enacting designing and enacting action plans, including the supervision of the Operation Centres for the Rescue of Women and Child Labour in 75 provinces (discussed below). Thus rather than being an operational unit, it is primarily designed as a coordination centre, to link the efforts of both central and local agencies, including following-up of operational results.

As noted above, it also acts as the secretariat for the NCLPC. Some of its problems in terms of lack of resources and skills are discussed above, and its difficulties in implementing particular programmes are detailed below and illustrated in Figure 1 below, which indicates the heavy responsibilities this pivotal unit bears with very limited resources.

At the regional level, each of Thailand’s 75 provinces has officers from the MOLSW with special responsibility for child labour. They have responsibility for overseeing inspections and developing child protection, employment services, skill training and social security. Each receives a technical support budget from the central government to meet administrative costs. In addition, by direction of the Cabinet in 1995, each province has a Committee of the Operational Centre for the Rescue of Women and Child Labour, chaired by the governor or a representative of the governor, to advise on the centre’s prevention and development work.

The MOLSW officials receive directions on action and programme development and instigation from Bangkok, from their departmental superiors, to whom they report. Ideally, they also work in concert with officials from other ministries at the provincial level, but this is very much dependent on individual relationships and organisational structures. Thus, while each province produces an annual plan of government activities, this consists of a uncoordinated compilation rather than a locally-developed attempt to address local problems, so for example, there is no real mechanism for coordinating education and anti-child labour efforts at the provincial level between for example the Ministry of Education and the MOLSW. Further discussion of the problems current government structures create is included in Chapter 4.

(d) Monitoring Mechanisms

As discussed above, on a national level, the NCLPC has the responsibility for monitoring child labour abuses. On the scale of individual enterprises and abuses, there are regional structures which are discussed under 3.4(a) below.

Additionally, women’s and children’s rights activists have been working together to establish an ombudsman responsible for protecting the rights of women and children, particularly within the framework of CEDAW and CRC. A major national conference on this proposal was held in August 1997, at which it was agreed a Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, as an independent commission of parliament, operating independently of individual governments and continuing without change through changes in government, should be established. It would be responsible for monitoring abuses of women’s rights and taking action to correct them, in part addressing existing legal problems which make it difficult for NGOs to take legal action on behalf of women or children or any group of people harmed by government or private sector actions or activities. There is considerable support for this proposal, but current uncertainties in Thai politics and the normal speed of creation of new structures in Thailand means it is likely to be at least several years before such an institution can be established.

3.2.4 Resource mobilisation

It is very difficult to quantify with any degree of completeness the level of resource allocation by government to all aspects of child labour. Recent significant increases in education budgets for example, are important in addressing issues of child labour, being associated with the move towards making nine years of schooling compulsory, but much of this money has also gone into areas of less relevance, such as pre-school education, and increasing technological levels in schools by purchase of computers, language laboratories and similar, generally in areas where children are not at serious risk or where they cannot be effectively utilised. Detailed budget breakdowns are not readily available, and anyway are not produced in a form that would allow isolation of projects likely to have a significant impact on child labour.

The fragmentary nature of other projects also makes it difficult to produce cumulative figures. For example, the government in 1996 introduced the “Loan for Education Fund” under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, for which ($US120 million was allocated in 1996 and $US360 million in 1997). This is designed to provide loans to students from Grade Seven onwards to enable them to meet tuition and living expenses. It is difficult, however, to establish the level of disbursement of these funds, with complaints being voiced of difficulties in meeting bureaucratic requirements to access them, and many apparently being accessed by middle-class families to support higher education.These may also have been affected by recent government cutbacks.

The Ministry of Education through its Sema-Life Project in northern Thailand has provided from 1994 to 1996 11,500 scholarships to girls for secondary study, and small groups of scholarships for nurse, agricultural and child care training. Also under this programme is a reported $US24 million from the national lottery to aid female secondary school graduates to further their studies in vocational education. Other government structures with significant budget allocations impacting on child labour issues include the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Vocational Education and individual universities and colleges.

The primary government allocation clearly directed towards child labour is in the MOLSW, to the Division of Women and Child Labour Protection, including the Child Protection Unit, and the Operational Centres to Assist Female and Child Labour Project. The operation plans for child labour received the following allocations:

1987 10,094,200 baht

1988 10,815,100 baht

1989 11,214,300 baht

1990 14,855,100 baht

1991 19,967,500 baht

1992 21,881,500 baht

1993 32,292,300 baht

1994 52,658,300 baht (including extraordinary capital expenditures)

1995 49,532,600 baht (Including extraordinary capital expenditures)

1996 26,922,400 baht

These allocations are spread throughout each province in Thailand, according to general formulas relating to the size and population of each province, rather than being particularly focused in problem areas, or being able to be allocated to trial pilot schemes or innovative new efforts in areas of local support.

3.3 Research, Monitoring and Evaluation on Child Labour

3.3.1 Coordinating Organisations

In 1992, the Child Labour Information Centre (CLIC) was established in the Women and Child Labour Division of the MOLSW, with funding from IPEC and staff and material support from the Thai government. As well as acting as a library and resource centre, the CLIC is responsible for assembling data on child labour, which is collected from provincial officers. Using that and other data, the CLIC published Child Labour Indicators 1996, which includes a wide range of statistical tables which presenting both detailed child labour data, inspection results etcetera, and information on a wide range of other social and economic data to present an overall picture of the context affecting child labour in Thailand.

The CLIC is also responsible for coordinating networking in child labour issues, and as part of that role aims to produce a monthly newsletter on child labour issues, which began in 1993. Three thousand copies of each issue are produced and delivered to government and non-government organisations, labour unions, employers and other relevant individuals. The director of the CLIC is a former deputy director of the Department of Labour and Social Welfare and her contacts and interest have been essential in maintaining its role, as the centre has suffered from receiving only sporadic funding and delays in funding which have significantly hampered its work. Without IPEC funding the centre would have no operational budget, and this is a situation which appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future. (Operational costs are about one million baht per year.)

Additionally, Thammasart University has been developing a database on child labour, in conjunction with an IPEC project to provide technical support to other child labour development efforts discussed under section 3.4 below. It chose to develop this project as it was felt the CLIC could not meet the needs of the organisations seeking technical support for projects from Thammasart staff and it wanted to develop as a “one-stop shop” in which organisations could obtain data, advice and technical support. Unfortunately, however, there has been no coordination between these two efforts, and examination of the material being collected, particularly in the area of statistical indicators, shows very considerable duplication with other efforts known to the researchers, including those of the Women’s Information Centre in the Office of the National Commission of Women’s Affairs. As is common with many of these projects, there are difficulties in obtaining and retaining computer staff and funding to update data.

Thammasart University has hopes of eventually making the database self-supporting, by charging for its use and establishing a trust fund and utilising the interest to meet ongoing costs. As there is no tradition of such paid services in Thailand, or provision for such built into official budgets or project proposals, this appears likely to present some difficulties, however, and ensuring adequate income is likely to be a major obstacle.

At the provincial level, the Centres for Women and Child Labour (discussed in some detail in section 3.4) also have responsibility for collecting data. The degree to which this responsibility has been implemented appears to vary considerably between centres, from no activities to considerable activity, but even the most active appear to have encountered a number of obstacles. The most important of these appears to be lack of expertise in handling statistical data, in addition to lack of specific budget allocations for the task.

The Chiang Mai centre, a relatively active and efficient one, has made attempts to collect data through the village volunteers (See Appendix III, Case C) and by enlisting school children, with support from their teachers and Ministry of Education officials, to complete surveys. This project was conducted through a two-stage mechanism. Teachers asked each Grade Six student to complete a “survey” on their own family, and groups of five students from each class, under the supervision of the teacher, compiled this data. Chiang Mai Centre staff said they believed this was the fastest and most efficient method of gathering detailed data on children’s future after they finished Grade Six.

However currently, while the data has been collected, there has been no compilation or analysis of it, which staff say is due to a lack of funding and expertise. An additional problem is that even if Chiang Mai Centre were able to effectively compile and analyse this data, it would be unlikely to be transmitted or promoted outside the province. There would be no automatic transmission of the data to the MOLSW in Bangkok, or any mechanism to utilise it there, and if each province were to pursue its own collection and analysis methods, the differences in data would make it impossible to use it in the compilation of meaningful national statistics.

3.3.2 Activities and Projects

Any effort to collect information on child labour must ultimately be reliant on many other agencies for data, and throughout the Thai system there are concerns about the reliability of much of the information collected. For example, data given by the Provincial Education Office in Chiang Rai indicates over 95 percent continuation rates between Grade Six and Seven, and between Grade Nine and Ten, a figure for which the Office received a national award. But this data is based on surveys of children’s reported intentions in the earlier grades, and observers from other sources in the province express considerable doubts about these figures. Among other potential sources of error, they suggest that schools may not record drop-out rates during the school year, and these figures do not appear to include hill tribe children whose parents do not have full citizenship, a group still largely denied access to formal secondary school, despite a government decision to allow their entry.

A number of significant individual research projects have been conducted, primarily with ILO and IPEC funding. These can be divided into two broad groups. Early studies during the mid 1980s tended to look at the situation of children across a range of industrial employment and to be focused on welfare issues. This was relevant to the concerns of the time, and certainly was effective in raising awareness of child labour issues by pointing out the health, social, psychological and other damage child labour could cause.

More recent research has tended to be more narrowly focused, on particular industries such as the fishing industry or in small geographic areas, such as the excellent study by Chantana on child labour households in rural communities, discussed in Chapter 2. Other research, commissioned by IPEC, has charted the progress of projects it funded.

Much of the research has suffered, however, from being descriptive rather than analytical. The conditions of work of the children, their personally-stated reasons for working and general background are described, but there has been little real analysis of the reasons for their becoming child labour. Reasons why their employment fails to comply with the law, or with international standards, or an examination of the real causes pushing them to work, are frequently lacking. Similarly, data on project outcomes, expenditure, number of people trained and similar has been collected, but there has been little or no real analysis of whether or not projects have actually made a difference to the number or situation of child workers.

Also, some of the research has not been linked to projects or activities, so while it has identified particular areas of significant concern, such as the fishing industry, little or no action has flowed from them. The considerable research conducted in this area has played its part in encouraging lobbying for a new law to cover child workers in the industry (which has yet to achieve broad support), but has not produced any projects or activities to address either the serious welfare concerns in the area or the underlying cause of the child labour problems in the industry.

A further area of very considerable research is in child prostitution. Much of the published material in this area is, however, repetitive, and suffers from the same lack of analytical approaches as encountered in other areas of child labour research.

A recently-instituted IPEC project has attempted to utilise ILO expertise in developing quantitative data on child labour, as developed through methodological experiments in a number of countries. This research was originally to be conducted through the MOLSW and the National Statistic Office, with the aim of strengthening the capacity of those institutions to carry out such work. However, they felt unable to conduct the work, so it was subcontracted to the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).

In a pilot project a survey was conducted in Kanchanburi and Ubonratchatani, trialling four methods of data collection: At the village level surveying the nature of households; interviewing the head of household; interviewing child workers at home, schools or workplaces; and, interviewing employers at workplaces that employ children. Problems have however been encountered in effectively collecting and analysing the data.

3.4 Impact of Capacity-Building Programmes in Strategic Sectors

A major capacity building project in strategic sectors, particularly key areas of the MOLSW and NGOs, has been conducted since 1994 by the Social Research Department of Thammasart University, establishing a Centre for Training, Advisory and Consulting Services on Child Labour. One Thammasart academic went to the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin to receive information and training, include a training handbook which was translated into Thai and adapted for local circumstances. This focuses on the key areas of project design, management and evaluation, areas in which it is recognised virtually all organisations in Thailand are weak. Since 1994, groups of officers, usually three to four from each project, from organisations involved in about 18 IPEC projects have undergone four days of training in these areas. With a particular problem acknowledged in meeting ILO financial reporting requirements, a special computer programme for this purpose has been developed in the Thai language.

This project is being extended into 1997-98, with an emphasis on attempting to move towards increasing utilisation of the skills of Thammasart staff for advisory and consulting services for projects, (primarily but not solely those conducted by IPEC). This is a difficult task, as there is no tradition among NGOs or government organisations of accessing such services and particularly among NGOs, cultural constraints suggest they should not “interrupt” academics with small queries, so Thammasart currently only tends to be consulted when major difficulties have developed. It is however very valuable in dealing with these issues, and it is hoped that as personal relationships develop, closer contact will be maintained.

(a) Enforcement of Legislation

As outlined under section 3.2.3 above, there are three primary structures which have lead responsibility for initiating a legal response to cases of child labour. Within Bangkok there are two different structures, one being when cases are reported directly to the Child Protection Unit in the MOLSW, the other when they are reported to one of the 19 sector offices responsible for child labour issues in the city and surrounding region. The procedure in each case will be examined in some detail, as it demonstrates some of the successes and failures in capacity-building in relevant institutions.

In line with the Cabinet recommendations of 1993, the Child Protection Unit in Bangkok operates a hotline service, advertised on radio programmes and with paid radio advertisements, pamphlets, stickers, posters, etcetera, to encourage members of the public to report cases of child labour they encounter. These indicate that in provincial areas, the police or provincial labour office should be contacted. (The pamphlets also contain a brief outline of the legal provisions controlling the employment of child labour.) The Bangkok hotline records an average of about 10 calls per month, about 50 percent of which prove to be verifiable cases of abuse of child workers.

A recent example was the case of a suburban garment factory whose neighbours reported it had foreign children working illegally. Officers from the central Child Protection Unit attended and found three children from Lao PDR aged from 15 to 17 years who had only been working there for five days, having been taken there by a middleman from their home province. The officials arranged for the children to receive the statutory minimum wage for each day they had worked, then handed them over to the Department of Public Welfare, which it was thought would then hand them to the immigration office to be deported in due course. The possible prosecution of the employer was handed to the Division of Protection of Labour and police were informed of the situation, but the Child Protection Unit was unaware if in fact anything had been done. Staff state that it is the policy of the director general of the department that cases be followed through by initiating officials, but resource limitations make this effectively impossible.

The second method of dealing with child labour inspection in Bangkok is through the 19 regional offices. A case study of one of these charting details of its operations, successes and problems is included in Appendix III (Case A). It demonstrates a broadly successful programme through which new units have been created and effectively staffed, although it would appear that this particular unit is one of the most successful ones, largely due to the quality of its staff.

The third area of child labour enforcement is in provincial areas, through the Provincial Centres for the Protection of Women and Child Labour, created through the Cabinet decree of 1993. These centres are charged with preventing abuse, protecting female and child workers and dealing with complaints. As an example, the activities of the Chiang Mai centre can be considered. It has conducted campaigns using television and radio to raise awareness of its existence and services and to raise awareness of the labour law. In the last year it also conducted inspections of 586 enterprises at which there were 21,121 workers. It also dealt with 21 complaints involving a total of 62 workers, all of which dealt with issues of compensation.

Its staff say that while its advertising may have attracted the attention of underpaid workers or those who had been denied other rights, child labour cases were not reported to the centre because the children wanted their jobs and did not want to be deprived of them, even in cases where their employment might appear abusive to outsiders. The centre also dealt informally with seven cases in which there were concerns about the welfare of children, working in circumstances such as selling flower garlands or in houses as domestic servants, not covered by labour law. But since these cases were outside the labour law, they did not technically come within the remit of the centre, and could not be recorded in its official statistics or formally regarded as part of its work.

The Chiang Mai centre, within the limitations of its legal and regulatory framework, appears to operate quite effectively, due to the high quality of its staff and strong support from the provincial governor, supported by its close ties to relevant non-government organisations and interested academics at the local university. But its officers identify many problems in their work. Chiang Mai has 24 amphoe and officers said to really reach down to the grassroots a women and child labour office would need to be established in each of those. They indicate further budget allocations would be necessary for this, although it appears it might also be possible to redirect existing resources. This would enable effective networking to the village level, including networking with village volunteers. (See Appendix III Case C for further discussion of the volunteer project.)

Training, with IPEC assistance, has been conducted for labour inspectors in both rural and urban areas, and there is no doubt the level of inspections has increased and the knowledge of inspectors of the law and labour issues has risen. They also now have access to detailed training manuals prepared under the programme. There is no doubt the capacity of the inspectors has been considerably boosted by this programme and in association with the boost in funding there has been a massive increase in the level of inspections, as shown in Table 1 (Appendix II).

Once questions of prosecution of employers of child labour through the court system emerge, in cases of repeat offenders or cases of serious abuse of children, the police must become involved (in simple cases of first offenders the matters are usually dealt with by an internal tribunal of the MOLSW which has the power to decide limited penalties), yet dealing with the issue of child labour is outside the experience of most police and not generally regarded as a central part of their work. To tackle this issue, IPEC has launched a project to mobilise police, piloting it in Police Bureau Seven Region (covering eight provinces surrounding Bangkok). This is very much an early, pioneering effort.

It involves conducting workshops for 350 officers and producing a handbook for police officers on both legal and social issues related to child labour. The project proposal states the Bureau “is not yet ready to deal with” the problem of child prostitution, and wished to target child labour issues “as a pilot test to develop potentials and evaluate the effectiveness of the police officers before moving on to child prostitution”. The programme is now being implemented, with the support of a small number of enthusiastic and supportive officers, but it is too early to evaluate its effectiveness and ability to sustain interest in the issue after the training period.

(b) Education and Training

As should already be evident from the data presented above, strengthening the capacity of schools, training institutions and other bodies providing education and training to provide high-quality, relevant instruction is of vital importance in combatting child labour. As the majority of the instruction is conducted under the auspices of ministries other than the MOLSW however, there have been few programmes to strengthen the capacity of these institutions specifically directed towards this goal.

In Appendix III (Case G), one IPEC-supported project under the Se-Ma Pattana Chewit project is discussed, highlighting some aspects of the “best practice” for such reform efforts. However, extending such efforts to the broader school system would be very difficult, both due to the scale of the task and differing priorities within the Ministry of Education. There remains a “sense of complacency” that education is available and it is not the responsibility of officials to determine if or why children are not actually receiving it.

Over the past few years the Thai government has attempted to strengthen the capacity of the education system, and to expand it towards the goal of making nine years of schooling compulsory, as already noted above. Broadly, however, as the example cited in Appendix II(B) indicates, while the budget of the Ministry of Education has been significantly boosted, this increase has not always reached down to operational levels in an effective and appropriate manner. Improving the quality of education is a vital issue in the prevention of child labour, but as the above example indicates, sustainably and effectively improving the capacity of schools is not an easy task.

(c) Counselling and Re-integration

The primary government effort at re-integration of child labour is directed towards child prostitution, through the Department of Public Welfare’s four residential programmes. Provisions to reform and develop these efforts are included in the newly-passed anti-prostitution legislation, but have yet to be put into effect.

Small but important NGO efforts, such as that of the Foundation for Children’s Development (FCD) have aided relatively small numbers of children, often those in enormous need, but there has been little direction of capacity-building efforts in this area, in part because it still tends to be approached from a “charity” perspective.

There has been little research and analysis of the effectiveness of the services that are available in these areas. Appendix II, Case H illustrates an interesting, small-scale move in this direction. On a broader scale, the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, having serious concerns about the quality and appropriateness of training for social workers and counsellors, has begun a project to examine the problem, which it is hoped will eventually develop new training modes and programmes, including particularly more practical work experience, in the area.

(d) Welfare and Income Replacement

No major capacity-building programmes directly related to these areas and child labour have been conducted.

(e) Social Mobilisation and Awareness Raising

A number of small regional efforts to raise the capacity of government and non-government organisations to develop social mobilisation and awareness-raising among the child labour and potential child labourers have been funded through IPEC and other agencies. A typical example is the IPEC programme on “Enhancing the Capability of Radio Programme Producers in Disseminating Information on Child Labour”. This was also linked to the production of booklets and leaflets explaining child labour issues. What evaluation was conducted indicated seminars were held as scheduled and attended by radio announcers and they expressed satisfaction with the training and there is no doubt it was successful in ensuring the transmission of material on child labour issues.

There were, however, no studies to examine whether this programme (or any other like it ) had actually “made a difference” in children lives, by either preventing them becoming child workers or enabling them to stand up for their rights. There are two broad strands of opinion on this. Some anecdotal evidence, as discussed in the media section of Chapter 4, suggests this programme may have been successful in ensuring the dissemination of information, but not necessarily its absorption by the target audience. But other observers suggest that, with very limited penetration of print media, radio is the chief source of information and news for many villagers, who are interested in listening to discussion and debate on political and social issues.

Preferably, before further significant efforts are directed towards building the capacity of government or non-government agencies to work in these areas, some detailed research should be conducted to determine the most effective approaches and media, including consideration of which of the above two views is correct. This data could then be used to develop agencies in the most appropriate areas and ensure their use of the most effective messages and media.

One notable pilot programme, funded by IPEC, was conducted in schools in the very poor Sri Sa Ket province in the north-east of Thailand. (See Appendix III Case (B)) for an account of the anti-child labour work in one school conducted under this programme.) In 22 primary schools (most of which have since extended into lower secondary) teachers were trained in 1993-94 to provide their students with information about child labour issues, and in conjunction a “child labour corner” was created in some school libraries.

This programme was an obvious success in awareness-raising in schools and among pupils and parents with whom it came in contact, but encountered some difficulties in sustainably increasing the capacity of schools to deal with child labour issues. An excellent analysis of the problems encountered concluded that while the initial stage, which included developing a handbook for teachers’ use and providing them with training was successful, the project lacked a coordinator at the provincial level, together with close communication and transparent management, and consequently too heavy a burden fell upon individual teachers. Additionally, the project work was never effectively incorporated within either the government-provided budget of the Provincial Labour Welfare or Protection Office of the Ministry of Education school funding, so was totally dependent on IPEC money for its continuation.

Subsequently, IPEC has attempted to use the handbook developed in Sri Sa Ket and four other provinces as a pilot project to develop material suitable for nation-wide distribution and use, but has encountered significant difficulties. There have been delays and difficulties, but this project now may be getting back on track and the experiences of Sri Sa Ket being extended to a nationwide scale. It will be important, however, that not only are handbooks and materials printed and distributed, but that teachers are encouraged and supported in their use.

(f) Information Collection and Dissemination

Despite the efforts of the Child Labour Information Centre and Thammasart University, information collection remains incomplete and fragmented, a reflection of the overall nature of the effort against child labour. As is indicated elsewhere throughout this report, information and data compiled by individual programmes and projects conducted by both government and non-government organisations are frequently not disseminated outside the organisation or structure which generated it.

For example, the Child Protection Unit in Bangkok last October instituted a project with funding from within the Thai government budget through which parents of working children who have lost contact with their offspring or are concerned about their welfare can contact the unit, which will attempt to locate the children and check their circumstances. Until June this year about 100 cases were traced, from 300 applications. This is an obviously potentially useful programme through which data could be collected on both sources of child labour and working conditions, but there is apparently no intention within the programme to use this data source.

(g) Research, Monitoring and Evaluation

It is obvious, from difficulties encountered in attempting to conduct research projects, that in key areas there are inadequacies in the capacity of key institutions to carry out research, monitoring and evaluation. IPEC and other agencies have funded research at several institutions which, through “learning by doing,” has resulted in increased capacity to handle child labour research, but as the above discussion suggests, much remains to be done in this area to ensure Thailand has the ability to effectively research child labour issues and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of programmes. The small-scale Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights project on training in research for child abuse, discussed in Appendix III (Case G), provides an interesting model and suggestions for “best practices” for the future in this area.

3.5. Impact of Direct Action Programmes/Projects in Communities and Work Places

As there are very many direct action projects in Thailand, operating at the micro-level in communities and workplaces targeting groups such as working children, parents, employers, teachers, community leaders, etcetera, this section aims, rather than providing a comprehensive list, to identify a wide range of projects which take different approaches, some being large province-wide or national efforts, others very small-scale efforts, sometimes even working only with individuals, in an attempt to establish not only if these actually “make a difference” to those targeted, but also what broader impact they might have, and how they might act as models for larger projects, where appropriate. In the case of more complex projects, details are provided in Appendix III, while smaller projects are fully explained within this section.

This report will discuss projects rather than programmes, for it must be broadly said there are not yet any comprehensive targeted programmes, applying the definition outlined in Chapter 1, operating for a sustained period in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion. An ideal programme would address all elements of the “circle” illustrated below, but at present virtually all projects address at most only part of this circle, with some NGOs for example being involved in rescue and development of child labour, but not having the resources or ability to extend protection once children return to their village or family, at which time they may well be at risk of again becoming child labour. Conversely, an organisation involved in attempting to prevent child labour may lack the resources and skills to assist in the development and reintegration of child labour victims who return to the area in which the organisation is working. Links and coordination of efforts within organised programmes would assist in addressing these problems, but does not yet generally exist.

(a) Protection and Prevention

To work from a grassroots level in preventing child labour, volunteer child labour monitors were appointed in 22,000 villages nationwide in 1996. (See Appendix III (Case C)). This programme, however, suffered from numerous problems which has meant it effectively ended soon after it started, and while attempts are being made to address a major problem of the lack of an annual honorarium for volunteers, for the programme to work effectively a total redesign is probably necessary.

A recently-instituted programme provides for grants of not more than 1,000 baht from the Public Welfare Department to help families keep their children in school. This relies on schools informing the district officer of children in need, but there are doubts as to how widely this programme has been publicised and utilised, and anyway the sum provided is probably not sufficient to make a real difference to family decisions about children’s schooling.

Discussion of official law enforcement efforts to protect children is included above. A somewhat different approach has been taken by an NGO which works directly with child workers, who may or may not fit the definitions of child labour. They seek to work if not cooperatively then at least not in oppositional terms with employers and children, including efforts to develop children’s skills and knowledge which may attract employers’ support. The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) conducts a child labour club in Bangkok, catering to around 200 children who attend the club on their Sunday and other holidays, to engage in recreational and educational activities. They are encouraged to become involved in further education through the non-formal education department and provided with information about their rights and entitlements as employees.

Additionally, the club is located near Hua Lumphung Station, the main railway station in Bangkok, to which many children come on first migrating to Bangkok, and from which many are recruited into abusive conditions. The FCD also runs a programme to intercept these children, provides them with temporary shelter as necessary and assists in coordinating among government agencies and employers to ensure they obtain appropriate work.

While this is obviously a valuable programme which can be very helpful to participants, it can only cater to a relatively small number of children who live and work within a reasonable vicinity of the club, and who have employers who are at least reasonably sympathetic to it. In its rescue efforts at Hua Lumphung it can again reach some children, but by no means all. This is a valuable effort, but only highlights the importance of preventative rather than curative measures to address the most intolerable forms of child labour.

In any programmes addressing protection and prevention, it is vital that children’s perspectives are considered. Associate Professor Phikul Khowsuwan from Thai Women of Tomorrow (TWT) in Chiang Mai, which among other efforts finds jobs for girls at risk of entering the commercial sex industry, told researchers she found herself frequently having to deal with girls who started work, then left suddenly and without explanation, for which supervisors held her personally responsible. She noted the need for programmes to ask: “Do they (target children) see the value of what we are trying to do for them? Do they appreciate them?” “Without that, programmes will never work,” she said.

Broadly it can be said that nearly all programmes at present fail to take adequate account of the views of children, and often also parents, as a target group. Children frequently feel an enormous responsibility to support their families, either their parents or often younger siblings, and simply preventing them from working may be very harmful to their emotional well-being, and may lead to their work being pushed further “underground” and thus into conditions more likely to fit the classification of “most intolerable forms of child labour”. Of course accessing children’s true views, and enabling them to develop them independently, is difficult. The Se-Ma Pattana Chewit project already discussed (See Appendix III, Case G) provides a model for achieving this, although working in a long-term, protected context.

(b) Development, Education and Training

A large number of scholarship programmes as detailed above have recently been introduced, most significantly through the Ministry of Education, but also through a variety of other government organisations and NGOs primarily to enable children to continue their formal schooling. Lack of knowledge, or incorrect information, or concerns about repayment may, however, interfere with children’s ability to access these loans. They also do not address the problem of children’s contribution to family income, as they are generally just adequate to cover school and a child’s living expenses. Generally, although no research has been carried out, it would appear that for a variety of reasons the poorest children, and those from remote areas, may find it most difficult to access these funds and the opportunities they can provide.

Additionally schools may simply be unable to cater to the needs of many of these children, and may be perceived as irrelevant by their parents, who consider children will learn more from work experience. Addressing the weakness in the education system and the lack of appreciation of education within certain social groups is vital to encouraging the continuation of these children’s education.

A very wide range of government and non-government organisations provide vocational training for school-leavers to attempt to equip them with employment skills. Among the major efforts is that of the Department of Labour which offers 45-day training courses in traditional areas such as dressmaking and hairdressing for girls and auto mechanics and electrics for boys. The comments of several graduates of these courses are included in Appendix III (Case B).

Trainees are offered a subsistence payment of 50 baht per day while completing the courses, and they are operated more or less on demand, with requests for training being directed through provincial labour offices. About 3,000 children have been trained in these programmes since 1995. In many ways this training is similar in content to that offered by Huay Krai school described in Appendix III Case C, and to that offered by many NGOs in northern Thailand and it suffers from similar handicaps. The length of period of training, the skills of the trainers and the equipment used together very often do not provide trainees with adequate skills to equip them to enter the workforce as even semi-skilled workers, or to enable them to earn an adequate income as homeworkers. The training is also not targeted to areas of labour force demand, and local jobs and even migratory jobs may not be available after its completion.

One programme which has largely overcome this problem is the Rural Sri Sa Ket Women’s Association for Occupational Promotion and Development (RUSWOP), which through its close links to industry and practical and high-skill training produces within only 45 days graduates who are in high demand, or who are able to make an adequate living from homeworking. (This programme is described in Appendix III, Case E.) This programme is heavily dependent on the particular skills of its founder, and any attempt at replication would require very careful selection of administrative and training personnel, but its strong commercial focus no doubt offers a strong lesson in “best practice”.

In these, and in many other programmes, it is important for organisers to think beyond the obvious forms and areas of training, and to encourage their target groups, both children and their parents, to be aware of non-traditional studies and occupations which may offer better life opportunities for children than traditional areas. If asked what area of study they prefer it may be that girls will say dressmaking and hairdressing and boys mechanical skills, but providers have a responsibility to assess if these are practical and appropriate.

Two other programmes which have also taken fresh approaches are the Se-Ma Life Development Project and the UNICEF hotel skills training project. Operated by the Ministry of Education, Se-ma, targeting girls in northern Thailand at high risk of entering the commercial sex industry, has, in addition to traditional vocational training (See Appendix III, Case G), offered limited numbers of girls concessional places in two-year college nursing courses. After completing this training, it is intended these girls should return to work in or near their home villages, where their skills would be in high demand.

In the UNICEF programme a similar group of girls is offered the opportunity to undergo a specialised five-month hotel training course conducted within and in close consultation with five-star hotels in Bangkok. All of the programme’s graduates have proved readily employable, and are in high demand. In the first year 10 girls entered the programme, a figure to be raised to 90 in 1997. This, however, illustrates the major difficulty of such programmes. On a per capita basis they are far more expensive than conventional, basic educational training, and would thus be difficult to implement on a large scale. Ideally it might be said that employers should be prepared to conduct this training at their own cost to obtain a skilled workforce, but with little tradition of such practices in Thailand, and a tradition of “poaching” trained employees from other companies, this appears unlikely to occur on a large scale.

The Non-Formal Education Department is also very important to addressing issues of child labour. It has recently adopted a pro-active approach, initially being pilotted in Chiang Rai, which actively seeks all individuals who drop out of the formal education system at any level to attempt to encourage them to continue studying through the non-formal system. In northern and western Thailand, it is responsible for the primary provision of education to hill tribe groups in particular. To address some particular concerns, the Department has developed a Basic Minimum Needs Kit which, among other topics, contains information on ethical moral concerns, designed particularly to prevent the selling of daughters into the commercial sex industry. This has not clearly, however, been linked to the broader effort against child labour.

(c) Rescue/Re-integration

These two aspects of the child labour cycle will be considered together, as most projects in this area link the two aspects.

The Public Welfare Department is primarily responsible for caring for any individuals in immediate crisis situations in Thailand, including the young, the aged and the indigent. Its funding and reach are, however, seriously limited. It may provide immediate help for rescued child labour in the form of a bus fare home, and has the responsibility for checking on the welfare of children who have been in its care, including those who have been victims of the commercial sex industry, but it does not have adequate resources to fulfill this monitoring task.

Both government and non-government agencies broadly have considerable difficulties in providing long-term follow-up of the cases of children for whom they may have cared after they were rescued from intolerable working conditions. In many cases these children may ultimately return to conditions similar or even the same as those from which they were originally rescued, and an NGO or government agency is unlikely to be aware of this. (This problem is particularly acute in the case of undocumented migrant children, such as girls working in the commercial sex industry, who frequently may be returned to the border and only a few days later be back at the same or related business from which they were rescued.)

Chapter IV: Partners in Combatting Child Labour

4.1. The Role of Public and Private Sector Organisations

(a) Parliamentarians and Politicians

As discussed in Chapter 3, the chief role played by parliamentarians in combating child labour has been as high-profile figures acting in individual cases. Without significant changes to the Thai political system, it is difficult to see how their role can be further developed. At present there are quite close links between individuals in NGOs and some government organisations and particular politicians which enable the groups to enlist their aid for particular causes, and as party structures are very weak in Thailand, this would appear to be the most successful and appropriate working arrangement at the present time.

(b) Government administrations

The role of various government agencies at various levels has already been defined in Chapter 3, together with the most important working arrangements within each organisation, and some of the obstacles encountered. Suggestions for optimal methods of supporting capacity-building and assisting most effective division of responsibilities are also described in Chapter 3, with further discussion in Chapter 6..

(c) Employers’ organisations

Although one major employers’ organisation, ECOT, has shown interest in addressing child labour issues, employers in Thailand broadly are the most difficult group to encourage to join in the fight against child labour. As outlined above, most employers of child labour are small-scale, informal sector enterprises which are not generally members of employers’ organisations or any other organised forum through which they might be reached. Many, however, operate as sub-contractors, supplying their products to larger companies for further processing, packaging or distribution. It is these companies, larger, with specialist management structures and likely to be involved in some form of formal organisation, such as ECOT, which are most likely to successfully develop and implement action against child labour. They may be a conduit for disseminating information about legal protections for child workers, and for encouraging compliance with these provisions.

To effectively enlist employers’ cooperation within the Thai cultural context, it is important that child labour issues be approached in a positive, constructive manner. Major companies can be encouraged to work with their sub-contractors to ensure child workers are all employed under appropriate conditions, but any attempt to do this in too heavy-handed a manner might be counter-productive, leading to employers to defensively group together to protect all of their numbers and their general reputation, making it more rather than less difficult to identify and correct child labour abuses.

Broader advocacy efforts to address attitudes towards child labour in the general community are likely to assist in raising employers’ knowledge and concern about the issue. Disseminating information about Thailand’s international responsibilities, such as through CRC, and of potential negative effects of child labour on trade and international relations are also likely to be of assistance in encouraging employers to become involved in efforts to combat it.

This approach has been begun with the Garment Manufacturers’ Association of Thailand, which at a meeting last July agreed to develop a code of practice, in line with the 1996 recommendations of the ILO Technical Committee on Textiles, Garments and Footwear. It suggested developing countries develop their own codes of practice and business ethics, rather than allowing them to be dictated by outside interests such as multinational companies. The Thai association agreed to develop a voluntary code which might be used as a marketing tool to promote Thai goods. A working group has been formed to work on the code. The difficult economic circumstances may prove, however, a significant barrier to its progress.

(d) Workers’ organisations

As noted in Chapter 3, a small number of union-related projects focusing on awareness-raising have been developed. ILO has instituted a regional project, involving Thailand, to develop the capacity of labour unions to address child labour issues, something rarely achieved in the past. Unions may be successful in working as pressure groups, by highlighting cases of abuses, particularly where child labour may be being used as a cheap substitute for adult workers, but overall the general weakness of workers’ organisations in Thailand and their fragmented nature will make it difficult for any action by them to make a significant impact in addressing child labour issues.

(e) Professional Organisations

As is the case with workers’ organisations, professional organisations such as of teachers and doctors are generally quite weak in Thailand, and only interested and involved in issues closely related to their work, such as pay, conditions and entry rules. One notable exception is the Women Lawyers’ Association of Thailand, which has been heavily involved in women’s issues, including issues of prostitution and sexual abuse of girls. It has not yet taken any particular interest in child labour issues outside those relating to prostitution, but is one organisation which might well be enlisted in the effort against child labour.

(f) NGOs

It is difficult in Thailand to draw a clear distinction between national level NGOs and local and community NGOs, and most of those which might be described as national also operate localised rescue or assistance programmes or have other efforts which overlap with those of community NGOs. For this reason, the two groups here will be discussed together.

It can be said that current efforts to address child labour issues broadly suffer from a lack of involvement from communities, being very much “top-down” in instigation, design and operation. NGOs are involved in this process, but they, together with government agencies, also tend to approach the work from a Bangkok-based, nationally-focused perspective. More effort needs to be put into ensuring NGOs are encouraged to represent a broad range of views, and attention should be paid to ensuring provincial viewpoints are included in the work of NGOs, government organisations and international efforts.

It is generally agreed that there are many implementing areas in which NGOs may be more effective than government organisations, because their culture may blend more easily with that of grassroots communities; they are more flexible and more able to readily change direction to address new problems or take up sudden opportunities; and, for particularly difficult target groups, such as street children, they are less threatening and likely to be far more effective.

For a division of labour to develop between the government and NGOs utilising the strengths and covering the weakness of each, the capacity of NGOs in management and administration needs to be further developed. The Thammasart University training project which has attempted to address this weakness, with some success, is discussed in chapter 3, and offers strong base for future development in this area.

Frequently workers in NGOs come from backgrounds such as political science, law or sociology, and they are thus often ill-equipped to understand or manage accounting requirements and regulations. Developing their capacity in these areas would not only aid the flow of support from international funding and technical support agencies, but would also assist efforts within the government to encourage the use of Thai government funds to support NGO work. Under the current regulatory framework this is now possible, although difficult, but few NGOs would have the capacity to absorb the funds while meeting government requirements for documentation and management.

Most NGOs working at the community level have also identified the need for their workers to be able to effectively communicate with their target groups, such as village residents, and some of the difficulties which may be encountered in building such links. NGO workers are typically young (in communities where age tends to be closely linked to status and knowledge) and tertiary-educated, from urban backgrounds, and thus initially with little in common with the people with whom they are trying to work. The most successful NGOs at the grassroots level appear to be those which have identified ways to overcome this potential gap, often through having workers offering assistance and advice in a range of areas not necessarily directly related to child labour, living in close contacts with the community and spending considerable periods of time with them.

Unfortunately, however, the priorities and urgencies of funding agencies, which often require measured outputs within relatively short periods of time, and fund programmes which extend for only a year or two, often make bridging the gaps between workers and target groups difficult. There are no easy solutions to this problem.

(g) Universities

Universities are important sources of professional expertise for efforts to tackle child labour, particularly in researching the nature of the problem and monitoring and evaluating efforts to address it. It is obvious, however, that the pool of academics with experience, skills and interest in child labour research is limited, and further encouragement, for example through the funding and other support of post-graduate research to promote the development of more professionals in the field, would be highly desirable. This is difficult, however, as academics indicate that most post-graduate students are interested in studying in areas likely to equip them for lucrative private employment, or, where they are already employed as government officers, in areas they can relate to their current work. Training in research technology would also be highly valuable, and more efforts should be made to access the Thailand Research Fund for this purpose.

Additionally, it is important that an attitude is fostered linking research to action. Research must extend beyond an academic exposition of the problem, through its promulgation through means and with terms accessible to all target groups, through assisting in project design and implementation, to monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation of projects should not only identify problems but also propose methods of overcoming them, and for this reason links between researchers and implementing agencies must be strengthened.

(h) Media

To reach the major target groups of potential child labour and their parents in rural areas, the most useful media are television and radio. For cost reasons, radio has been particularly used, with, among other programmes, radio disc jockeys being trained in child labour issues and encouraged to disseminate it during their programmes. As discussed in Chapter 3, there are differing views in the effectiveness of this method of “making a difference” to grassroots attitudes and unfortunately no evaluation has been conducted to determine the success of this programme.

Although there has been little, if any, formal monitoring of television news and other programmes, it appears that generally these very rarely report on child labour issues. Major conferences and meetings, particularly those held by the government, may be covered, particularly by the most official Channel 11, but this is not widely watched. The only factor likely to attract significant television coverage of a child labour issue or event is the involvement of a well-known personality, such as the recent appointment of Mr. Anand Panyarachun as UNICEF Ambassador for Thailand, and his visit to Chiang Rai to view anti-child prostitution programmes.

As for entertainment programmes such as soap operas, which are very popular in Thailand, these do not traditionally explore serious social issues, and are generally set either in historical periods, or in apparently wealthy modern settings, so do not offer obvious opportunities for incorporating child labour themes. Documentaries have been produced and shown without charge to child labour campaigners, but these are generally scheduled at low-viewing times, such as mornings or late at night, and on less-watched channels, so their impact is likely to be small, and such transmissions are generally only viewed as a cost-free additional use for videos produced primarily for use in training programmes.

A further alternative for information dissemination, available mostly in fairly remote areas, is village broadcasting systems, consisting of a series of loudspeakers spread through an individual village, access to which is generally controlled by the village head. Community level NGOs which are able to establish close links with the villages, and particularly senior village officials such as the village head, may be able to access such systems for information dissemination, but in other circumstances the cost of using these systems is likely to be high.

No particular effort has been directed towards encouraging or training newspaper journalists in child labour issues, in part because grassroots workers are in general agreement that they are little read in rural areas. They are however valuable in reaching urban groups. A brief study of newspapers’ reporting of child labour stories is included in Appendix III (Case K).

This brief survey of media indicates that the medium of radio, particularly in Thailand, has been developed successfully for the dissemination of information to target groups including potential child labour and their parents, through the training of radio announcers. Without a serious evaluation effort, however, it is unclear if this has had any actual impact on their actions. Television, at least in peak times on popular stations, is a very difficult medium to access, except through paid commercials, which might nonetheless be a cost-effective way of raising general community awareness of the issue of child labour if part of a carefully orchestrated campaign in a variety of media.

As the Appendix III scan indicates, newspapers, particularly English-language newspapers, have, without any significant project or plan, been successfully enlisted in efforts to raise awareness of child labour issues. As a method of reaching decisionmakers in government, NGOs and the private sector, this is likely to be an effective medium, and one which might be further utilised by government organisations and NGOs. Ties between individuals are frequently important in promoting coverage, with journalists and, in particular NGO workers, frequently coming from similar educational and social backgrounds. Experience has shown that to attract coverage of conferences and other events individually-telephoned invitations are most effective.

A small project to build and enhance these individual ties, which might be carried out at low cost, would be valuable, as it would appear at present that newspapers’ appetite for stories about child labour issues is far from exhausted, and a small increase in effort by campaigners would result in a significant increase in the number and scope of stories. The situation in the Thai-language print media is probably also similar, and particular attention might be paid, particularly at conferences and meetings conducted in the English language, to ensure their needs are met by translation of relevant materials and provision of interviews and/or press conferences in Thai.

(i) The police and judiciary

To institute formal legal proceedings against employers who employ child labour, labour inspectors need the assistance of police. Long-time inspectors indicate that in the past police were frequently reluctant or even outright refused to become involved in child labour cases, possibly due to lack of knowledge of the law or the legal provisions governing it, because they did not personally see anything wrong with the children’s circumstances, or because influential and powerful individuals may have been involved in or indirectly backing the enterprise. Although no research has be conducted, and would indeed be very difficult, it is believed the level of cooperation has improved, although serious problems may still be encountered due to involvement of influential people.

The IPEC project to raise police awareness of child labour issue has already been noted in Chapter 3. While this pilot is obviously offering a valuable model, for it to be implemented on a national level, in a sustained manner, and to actually affect police behaviour, high level support from within the Royal Thai Police and the Interior Ministry will be essential.

Monitoring of this effort is also essential, and best conducted by NGOs, such as is already being done by the Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation (FACE), which focuses on monitoring the performance of the judicial system in arresting, detaining, prosecuting and punishing foreign customers of children within the commercial sex industry. It operates chiefly on the level of individual cases, often being involved from before the arrest until (hopeful) sentencing of the offender. It relies on influential supporters and, in some cases, enlistment of the media, to encourage prosecution of cases to the full extent of the law.

(j) International organisations

A detailed discussion of the functions most successfully developed by international organisations, including United Nations bodies, bilateral partners and internationals NGOs, and the most effective working arrangements is contained in Chapter 5.

4.2. Coordination and Networking

4.2.1 National Level Coordination and Networking

As noted above, the main mechanism given responsibility for coordinating national efforts against child labour is the Committee for the Prevention of Child Labour, but it has been largely ineffective, due to weakness in its structure and management. To be fair, however, within the structure of the Thai government, in which each ministry very much operates as an independent entity, developing even very basic cooperation is difficult, with each government entity keen to guard its own concerns and areas of interest. Additionally, NGOs generally have their own agendas and concerns, and, particularly those operating at grassroots levels, may be reluctant to be seen to be too closely linked to government efforts for fear this may alienate them from their target groups.

The problems which the committee might encounter can be considered through brief examination of issues of data collection. IPEC partners at their meeting in August highlighted the many different government agencies which might all collect information about one child: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Public Health, the MOLSW, the National Youth Bureau, even in some cases the police. Each of these agencies generally operates without reference to any of the others, using different classifications and categories, with no mechanisms to coordinate design of data collection or to facilitate its dissemination among different agencies. Additionally, many of the officials collecting data have no training in data collection or statistical analysis, and in many cases data is collected but never used or published in a meaningful manner.

While the ideal answer to this problem might appear to be the development of an entirely new, independent data collection, this is far beyond the role of the NCPCL, and simply not practical. Instead, as has been tried through the institution of the CLIC, the best approach is probably to encourage collection of data from as many sources as possible in an accessible place, with technical support available, so that end users are able to access it, and have assistance in interpreting and using what information is available.

Similarly, while it is obvious the NCPLC now has many weakness, even if it is strengthened its approach to coordinating child labour efforts will need to cooperative and supportive, rather than directive, operating along the model being used to develop the Chiang Mai provincial plan on child labour (discussed in the following chapter). Issues and difficulties need to be addressed through informal consultation and personal links. Establishing the committee with a more stable membership, through appointment of more individuals rather than simply holders of specific positions, is essential in allowing the development of personal links and links between small-scale operation units in various agencies, to allow exchanges which may frequently be informal and undocumented. Preliminary steps have begun in this direction, with the appointment of a sub-committee to draft rules and regulations for a permanent committee. Effectively developing such links and structures is not likely to be a short-term process, but it is certainly one that should be promoted as soon as possible, through the strengthening of NCPLC, which must include building the capacities of its secretariat.

Similarly, in terms of links between NGOs and government organisations, while meetings, conferences and formal structures may be important in informing individual agencies of each other’s work and disseminating new data, approaches, funding source information and other technical information, they are chiefly important for encouraging the development of informal links between individuals and institutions. They may also be used to identify key areas of concern on which efforts, particularly in the area of advocacy and lobbying, can be concentrated.

4.2.2. Provincial Level Coordination and Networking

Many of the difficulties of coordination between different government agencies at the national level are reflected at the provincial level. As noted in Chapter 2, officials in the provinces are chiefly responsible to their head offices in Bangkok, while also, sometimes uneasily, working with the governor and other provincial officials.

An example of the difficulties of coordination and networking can be seen in the experience of attempting to establish a provincial plan for child labour in the northern province of Chiang Rai, one of four pilots supported by IPEC. In Chiang Rai this was part of a broader IPEC capacity-building programme. Attempts to develop the plan began in 1995, with the appointment by the provincial governor of a senior official from the local Rajahbaht Institute (tertiary college), the highest level academic institution in the province, to coordinate the work, and establishment of a committee to draw up a master plan, with both government and non-government representatives.

In February 1996 the plan was presented to a public meeting, but at that gathering a number of problems were identified with it, including its lack of an overall framework and approach, evidence of lack of experience with the realities of the problem of child labour in some of its proposals, and its reliance on data which was substantially out of date.

The committee was asked to continue its work in developing and refining the plan, and a researcher for this report attended a meeting in mid-1997 at which the plan was further discussed, although a further formal meeting to discuss the revised plan is still planned. At that mid-1997 meeting it was obviously that despite its long period of preparation many NGOs were unaware even of the existence of the plan, and some government officials indicated they were easily able to supply data which plan authors had previously found to be unavailable.

IPEC provided funding to develop the plan, but at present it appears unclear what sources of funds will be available to implement it. While participating agencies have their own funding sources, it may be difficult to redirect already tied funds from government agencies towards the plan’s objectives and actions, and NGOs are likely to be constrained by the priorities of foreign funding sources.

An outside view of the overall situation in Chiang Rai suggests there are serious difficulties and inefficiencies in the overall efforts to tackle child labour, and particularly the entry of girls into the commercial sex industry in the province. At a conservative estimate there are 30 NGOs tackling these issues in the province, in addition to probably a similar number of government organisations and individual programmes. Many of these offer vocational training programmes, often in traditional skills such as sewing and weaving, such as the Huay Krai project outlined in Appendix III (Case B), many sharing its limitations in terms of the relatively low market value of skills imparted and likely income for graduates. Many others offer scholarship programmes to allow girls to remain in school.

If it were possible for the provincial plan to encourage a rationalisation of these programmes, to allow government and non-government organisations to concentrate on core competencies, this would aid capacity-building efforts and promote efficiency in the use of funds and other resources. It would also avoid the apparent situation of organisations such as the Daughters’ Education Programme (See Appendix III Case C), which, in part due to differing priorities of foreign funding agencies, have stretched their administrative and structural support abilities very thinly in trying to support and maintain a wide variety of programmes, spread both geographically and in terms of target groups. DEP and many other organisations in Chiang Rai also suffer from receiving funding from, often foreign, agencies for pilot projects, but then being unable to find sustainable long-term funding, which foreign organisations are not generally prepared to supply.

That is not to say there should not be diversity of programmes. For example, the small Protective House Foundation (Ruan Rom Yen), also in Mae Sai district, offers a live-in programme for girls at high risk of entering the commercial sex industry apparently very similar to DEP’s. But it has a distinctly religious/meditative focus, with plans for training in Buddhism and sustainable agriculture. As a specialist programme probably only suited to a minority of the potential target group, it still might play an important role in meeting the needs of some, and offering alternative directions and futures, which should not be discouraged.

A similar process to develop a provincial plan has begun in nearby Chiang Mai province, which it is hoped will be able to learn from the experience of Chiang Rai. It has a firm seven-month timetable and is able to draw on a strong core of academic support from the Thai Women of Tomorrow (TWT) project at Chiang Mai University. Adopted a less rigid planning approach it, while still in the early stages, would appear to be making more effective progress using a rather different working model.

Rather than developing an ideal list of programmes and projects based on detailed, academic-style quantitative and qualitative research, as has been attempted in Chiang Rai, the Chiang Mai approach has focused instead on drawing together all relevant government agencies and NGOs and encouraging them to exchange, in a fairly informal environment, information and experiences, which, very importantly, enables them to begin to see the broad framework of child labour issues of the province and where their own efforts fit within that. The approach is of a loose partnership, rather than a directing committee designing a rigid plan. It is designed to develop a partnership which can twist and change and quickly redirect efforts as new problems or situations arise.

Conclusions, which appear to have been reached by consensus rather than direction from the top, thus far, include that the primary problem of child labour is in the informal sector, an area not covered by legislative frameworks and thus one in which NGOs may be able to operate more effectively. The work thus far has concluded that the vast bulk of child labour under 15 consists of foreign children or those without Thai citizenship, and that the basic issue of their illegal/unclear status and the complications this produces must be clearly understood and projects operated within that limitation.

There are however potential or actual child labour problems in the fringe areas of the formal sector, in semi-established enterprises, an area in which government activity is likely to be particularly important, the Chiang Mai planners have concluded. They have decided work in this area should include not only-service training of workers so they are aware of their rights, but also practical and technical assistance for the businesses themselves to operate more effectively and profitably, so they do not have to rely on unreasonably exploiting their employees.

Although heavily dependent on the quality and commitment of the individuals involved, and on clear backing from the provincial governor, the Chiang Mai model would appear, although as yet incomplete, to offer a “best practice” model for the development of provincial plans to address the issue of child labour. The model offers a way of enlisting support from a wide range of agencies without threatening their boundaries or control over their own work, while allowing them to develop a greater understanding of how their efforts fit within a broader social and insitutional framework.

What is not yet clear, however, is how such a fluid, informal plan can be integrated into national models and plans. Those involved in the Chiang Mai plan appear barely aware of the existence of the 1997 National Policy and Plan, and in fact it would appear to be unconnected and largely irrelevant to their efforts, which has important negative implications for the long-term sustainability of the approach.

The development of such plans in all relevant provinces is obviously essential for the future, but the difficulties should not be underestimated, and a gradual approach to developing cooperation rather than offering direction, such as is being developed in Chiang Mai, may prove to be the most effective.

The whole area of provincial coordination is likely to become more complicated as tambon-level elected administrations (first introduced in 1995 for areas meeting financial and structural criteria) spread more widely. Funding for tambon projects is provided by the Ministry of the Interior, and that source, and the local elected members and officials, are likely to see their work as being primarily in the area of physical infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water supplies, despite the fact that the governing legislation also gives them responsibility for social issues. This may be an area to which future awareness-raising efforts may need to be directed.

Chapter V: International Action on Child Labour and Its Impact on National Action

5.1. International Conventions

As discussed in Chapter 2, Thailand’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, particularly the former, have been important lobbying tools for campaigners against child labour in Thailand, as has ILO Convention 29 against Forced Labour, which has been an important driving force for law reform and government action. The ratification of the Conventions occurred as a result of the triumph of the view of officials who see such conventions as useful for developing Thai law, rather than as an instrument which can only be signed once all aspects of the law comply with their provisions, for fear of negative international publicity.

In the area of as-yet unratified ILO conventions, however, it is the latter view which has generally prevailed, and it seems this situation is unlikely to change in the near future. There, may, however, have been a sufficient level of awareness and concern about child labour developed among key agencies and individuals that sufficient backing could be found for Thailand to ratify the proposed new standard against the most intolerable forms of child labour, particularly as there are no obvious legal provisions in Thailand which would contradict its likely provisions. Because of this situation, however, ratification may have little practical effect as international conventions have mainly been of use in lobbying for legal changes.

If, however, constitutional changes are successfully implemented in Thailand, and initiatives such as that of introducing an Parliamentary Human Rights Commission are implemented, international conventions, including ILO conventions, may take on a broader role. Given such mechanisms, the pool of committed and concerned NGOs and government officials would be well placed to use them to affect not only Thai law, but also the enforcement and interpretation of that law.

5.2. Bilateral and Multilateral Action

As the media survey outlined in Chapter 4 indicated, judging from the level of newspaper coverage, and the quick response by government spokespersons to reports of international concern about child labour in Thailand, trade sanctions and incentives would have potential to have a significant impact in Thailand, at least at the government level. Concerns about the European Union and United States Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) have been particularly marked. Reports of their potential establishment produce expressions of concern and promises for government action, but it is clear that even if instituted, very careful monitoring and evaluation would be required to determine if expression of good intentions and legal and regulatory provisions they encouraged were followed through.

As have other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand has, however, been strongly resistant to the inclusion of “social clauses” in any form in multilateral and bilateral agreements, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Additionally, Thailand has been involved with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) which has concentrated on trade liberalisation and facilitation.

Broadly it can be said that in the short to medium-term Thailand appears unlikely to be the subject of any significant bilateral or multilateral trade sanctions, and as a state in which legal provisions are, or are soon likely to be, in line with broad international norms, these are anyway unlikely to have a significant impact on the actual situation of child labour in Thailand.

As many of Thailand’s main exports, including both manufactured goods and agricultural produce, are rarely clearly identified with the nation (often having multinational, Japanese or Korean brand names) any attempts at consumer boycotts, as occurred last year with the small, individually-initiated United States-based Don’t Buy Thai effort, linked to child prostitution, are likely to have little impact.

5.3 Outside Technical and Financial Assistance

Broadly, as is evident from the information contained in Chapter 3, outside technical and financial assistance is vitally important to a wide range of child labour projects, particularly those conducted by the government. The availability of these funds for child labour projects has encouraged both government and non-government organisations to become involved in the issue, and has enabled concerned individuals to develop institutions and structures to work on child labour issues. Technical support and information to broaden awareness and understanding child issues is another important function of international organisations.

In a situation not restricted to child labour issues, but covering most aspects of the Thai government work, very strict and detailed guidelines cover the ways in which government funds can be spent. Tight and frequently unrealistic limits are set on the amount of money which can be spent on tasks such as translation, editing and holding meetings, which frequently mean these tasks are simply not possible under the government budget. Additionally, each organisational unit must submit detailed budget plans for approval each year, and moving outside these to meet unexpected demands or take up unpredicted opportunities is extremely difficult.

As a result of these restrictions, government organisations frequently depend on international funding which can be utilised in a more flexible manner than line budgets to complete a great deal of important work. It can be used to provide honorariums for meetings, without which it may be impossible for many key individuals or grassroots level representatives to attend, to pay for translation of key international documents, to provide scholarships and training for key people, and for many other important purposes.

One difficulty, however, which many organisations find in working with international donors is that frequently there is some requirement to handle material, instructions or conversation, or produce documents in English rather than simply in Thai. For grassroots NGOs, and even for government organisations, this can be a very significant, even insurmountable, barrier.

Even if such a requirement is not made, international donors usually have reporting and accounting conditions in the Thai language which some organisations find difficult to fulfill, due to differing cultural norms and expectations which can result in considerable frustration and misunderstandings. Grassroots workers focused on immediate pressing problems may find it difficult to understand and meet documentation and accounting requirements and strict spending criteria, yet of necessity international donors must have such controls.

A survey of projects involving international organisations suggests the most successful working arrangements include those where the organisation has a full-time representative office in Thailand which is in regular contact with recipient organisations. This allows the donor or technical support supplier to provide advice and support and increase the level of understanding of the obstacles and difficulties faced, as well as successful methods of overcoming these. Particularly in the case of NGOs and government organisations operating at the provincial or regional level, international organisations can be very valuable in providing links to national-level structures and disseminating information about national activities and plans, as well as those conducted in other provinces and regions, which may not otherwise be available to grassroots workers. Developing sustainable, effective ties to produce these results frequently takes a number of years, which presents a problem to international agencies which frequently operate on short funding and support cycles of one or two years.

The IPEC programme is the primary source of both levels of assistance, and has been critical in raising awareness of child labour issues, developing a core of high-level, concerned officials and active NGOs. It has also funded notably successful pilot programmes in a number of areas which offer valuable models for future work.

As already identified, where problems have been encountered has been in the development from pilot projects to full-scale projects integrated within a broad programme framework. While this is correctly perceived as predominately the responsibility of the Thai government, it is obvious that more assistance and support is needed to achieve this aim. To institute major national and regional programmes, to build on the fine work already done, and the lessons learned, IPEC (and other) efforts may need to be more narrowly focused, with concern from the earliest stages of even pilot programmes of the likelihood of their developing further. Ideally, clear timetables for each stage of a project from piloting to national implementation (where appropriate) should be set before the project begins.

Increasing awareness is already obvious within IPEC and among other international partners on the important issue of use and choice of research topics, which must not only provide information, but should also be clearly connected to actions to address problems identified. As noted under Chapter 3.3 above, in the past some excellent research has been conducted in, for example, children’s involvement in the fishing industry, but has been followed up by little more than some limited and as yet ineffective advocacy.

Almost universally, at least some government and non-government workers, particularly at the grassroots level, are aware of the areas in which some of the most serious child labour problems lie, and their knowledge and experience should be tapped in identifying key areas of research focus, with some idea of general approaches which might be used to take action identified before research begins. Research findings can then be used to refine and develop these concepts to produce effective pilot and then broad-reaching programmes. Researchers involved in such a project would then also be in an ideal position to carry out effective monitoring and evaluation of project results.

To achieve such a coordinated approach to research, and to tying together pilot projects and their broader implementation, IPEC, through the direction of the National Steering Committee on Child Labour, might attempt, using the framework of the National Plan of Action (1997-2001), to be more directive in its work, proposing and promoting certain activities or projects, rather than, as largely occurs at the moment, simply responding to proposals put before it. To effectively implement such an approach, further strengthening of the Steering Committee’s secretariat may be necessary. This is already the direction in which IPEC is moving in its second Biennium, with a focus on mainstreaming child labour projects and issues, but strengthening of this trend may be needed, and is certainly planned for the Third Biennium.

Additionally, it is clear that more use might be made within Thailand of ILO’s technical support capacities, both from the East Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team, and from the Geneva office. A clear screening process might identify other project in which technical inputs from these sources would be valuable, although this needs to be done in a sensitive manner, so that local partners do not feel their skills and experience are being downplayed.

As will have been obvious from the projects reported above, although IPEC is the major outside partner in funding and providing technical assistance, other agencies, notably UNICEF, are also involved in this field. Some informal consultation and division of labour already occurs between these agencies, with, for example, UNICEF through its Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances programme focusing on children in the commercial sex industry and street children, while IPEC has focused on child labour in industrial and commercial settings, and in programmes to prevent children migrating into circumstances in which they are at high risk of becoming child labour. Other agencies have also worked in particularly specialised areas, such as Save the Children Fund, which has focused on children of families of scavengers around Bangkok and Redd Banna which developed a close relationship with the Foundation for Child Development, supporting the establishment of its Child Labour Home at Hua Lumphong, pioneering international support for child labour NGOs in the later 1980s.

At present, however, what cooperation and coordination that occurs is ad hoc and informal. Particularly in the area of prevention of northern girls entering the commercial sex industry there is considerable overlap, which sometimes results in inefficient use of resources. Additionally, there are no established forums for the exchange of information, ideas and experiences which might enable these agencies, and the organisations they fund, to benefit from each others’ experiences.

The establishment of a committee of funding and technical assistance agencies to meet regularly, perhaps twice yearly, would be perhaps the simplest and most appropriate structure for such exchanges. A partial model for such a structure exists in the area of women’s issues, with a committee of Bangkok-based United Nations agencies funding projects on women’s issues in Thailand meeting twice-yearly. IPEC would be the natural lead agency in establishing such a committee for child labour.

Additionally, funding and technical assistance agencies, in particular IPEC, are in an ideal position to facilitate cooperation and information sharing among both government and non-government implementing agencies which they assist. The ILO/IPEC partner meeting held to assist in the preparation of this report was an ideal model, with a wide range of workers in the field spending two days learning about each others’ activities and experiences, and making personal links likely to be valuable in the future. Annual meetings along similar lines would assist in developing and promoting these links and future cooperation. Some effort in this direction has been made in combination with Thammasart University training courses for child labour workers, but a specialised information exchange/experience sharing session would also be valuable.

5.4 Other International Action

Media attention to statements by well-recognised international individuals and organisations suggests these may have some impact in Thailand. Among recent examples are the visit of Mrs. Hillary Clinton, wife of the United States President, to anti-child labour and child prostitution projects in Thailand, and that of Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who visited the Foundation for Children’s Development during a state visit. The annual United States State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices, which in 1996 and 1997 highlighted child labour issues, also usually receives significant coverage in Thai media.

As these are isolated occasions, however, rather than part of concerted, continuing campaigns, while such statements and their reporting may be of some assistance in raising awareness of the issue of child labour, their long-term impact is very small. The degree of reaction statements by such international personalities attract does indicate, however, that a concerted, long-term, targeted international campaign might have a significant impact on views of child labour and action against it, particularly by influencing senior decisionmakers in the government.

Most of the multinational companies operating in Thailand are not direct employers of child workers, as they primarily require at least semi-skilled labourers in factories utilising relatively high levels of technology. They may, however, use sub-contractors who may be employers of child labour, but few if any of the multinational companies now operating in Thailand are known to have codes of conduct addressing the issue.

There are attempts being made to develop a voluntary code of practice in the garment sector, but in view of the relatively fragmented nature of this group of companies, the severe economic pressures upon it which have particularly severely affected large manufacturers, lack of resources or systems to promote such a code, even if it were introduced, this is unlikely to have much impact.

Chapter VI: Conclusions, Recommendations and Lessons for the Future

6.1 Overview

Since the middle 1980s, from a situation where child labour as an issue had barely impacted on the agenda of government and non-government organisations, considerable progress has been made in Thailand. A core network of government officials (concentrated primarily within the MOLSW, the NCWA and the Attorney General’s department) and non-government workers aware of and concerned about the issue has been developed. The initial evidence of this development was seen in the signing in 1992 by the Thai government of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the IPEC programme in Thailand. This group will be essential to the implementation of the national policy and plan against child labour, adopted by the government last year, and the 1996 policy and plan against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, both representing a culmination of this group’s major lobbying and advocacy efforts.

Through the drafting and acceptance of these policies and plans, Thailand showed its commitment to taking action to address child labour, particularly its most intolerable forms. Additionally, through the major expansion of lower secondary school enrolment (for Years 7 to 9) involving pupils from age 12 to 15, very large numbers of children have been removed from any risk of becoming child labour.

Legal protections have been strengthened, through both changes in law, and promises of changes, most notably in a government commitment to raise the minimum legal age for child workers to 15 by 2001. This improvement may occur sooner, with the necessary legislation having already been passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. At time of writing, the amendments agreed in the Senate are receiving the final consideration of the House of Representatives. Additionally, the enforcement framework has been strengthened through an increase in the number of inspectors, their training in child labour issues with IPEC support, and a massive increase in the number of labour inspections. Steps have also been taken towards increasing police and judicial support for anti-child labour measures and to raising public awareness and encouraging public activism on the issue (such as through reporting cases of child labour to the authorities).

A series of projects covering a wide range of efforts against child labour have been piloted, many of them successfully, identifying effective methods of dealing with both the pull and push factors bringing migrant child labour to Bangkok and surrounding regions, and taking children into prostitution. Broadly, there have recorded considerable successes in small-scale projects focusing on limited areas, but ways have yet to be found to produce significant changes in public attitudes across Thailand which would raise the value placed by parents on education, lead to public condemnation of child labour beyond that of the most absolutely abusive circumstances, and raise public concerns in particular about the issue of immigrant child labour. Some of these projects have been successful in targeting highly sensitive and complex issues such as children in the commercial sex industry, a very difficult task.

Much also remains to be done is in ensuring the effective implementation of government policies and plans, through action on the ground at all levels, but particularly in northern and north-eastern provinces. Some progress has been made in decentralising efforts to the provincial level and in mobilising the MOLSW at the provincial level, but much remains to be done in this area. Piloted programmes which have proved their worth need to be translated into action in all necessary areas. Most frequently these have been established largely through IPEC support and funding, but it has proved difficult to secure the government funding necessary for their expansion and establishment as sustainable, long-term programmes. Few successes have yet been recorded in ensuring this transition, and Thailand’s economic circumstances may make this even more difficult in the future.

Additionally, government officials outside the MOLSW, such as in education, training and health, need to be convinced both of the seriousness of the child labour issue and the need to coordinate efforts in these and other areas to prevent child labour and protect child workers. An important mechanism which needs to be re-examined, restructured, and certainly must be re-invigorated, is the National Child Labour Protection Committee. It must be made permanent, a regular meeting schedule established and maintained, and effective sub-committees with strong representation from experts and concerned individuals should be established. The committee and its secretariat must be able develop and manage significant agendas based on critical issues and problems related to child labour, based on a long-range commitment to eradicate the problem.

NGOs need to be encouraged to develop their programmes in close coordination with the government, and to work together to ensure maximum efficiency in programme delivery, particularly in areas such as northern Thailand, where many parallel programmes addressing the issue of children in the commercial sex industry now exist. The development of provincial plans to address the child labour issue, as piloted in Chiang Rai, is obviously the best route for achieving this, but funding agencies and organisers need to recognise the difficulties involved in this process, and be prepared to provide sufficient funding, for a sufficient term, to allow the development of a sustainable plan which will actually be implemented.

In terms of overall approach, while the national policy and plan provides a broad framework, examination of the past 15 years suggested that government and non-government workers would be best advised to identify a small number of key issues and actions, focusing on incremental change, such as the raising of minimum age for legal child workers from 12 to 13, rather than attempting to produce a major series of significant changes simultaneously.

While a great deal of effort has been focused in the more obvious and directly effective areas of enforcement and rescue of child labour, a switch in emphasis towards prevention efforts would be beneficial, with international experience and consideration of the Thai situation suggesting that in the longer term these are likely to be more effective, both in terms of results and in cost-effectiveness. Development of monitoring and evaluation of these projects is particularly important, however, as they do not produce easily measurable outcomes such as numbers of children rescued or prosecutions successfully completed.

More broadly, problems within Thailand’s education system need to be addressed, particularly in curriculum and teaching methods, to ensure schools and colleges effectively meet the needs of children and their likely occupational futures, and develop creativity, self-confidence and other factors which enable children to make decisions for themselves. Additionally, the education system and publicity campaigns by a range of agencies need to teach and develop high-quality work ethics, to encourage workers, including parents, to rely on themselves and their own efforts, with endurance and perseverance, which should assist in reducing families’ reliance on the labour of their children. Although this might seem to be far removed from child labour, issues such as drug addiction and gambling which damage families need to be addressed through provision of appropriate counselling and services.

Ultimately, however, while all of these developments would have positive impacts on the battle against child labour, broad, macro-economic changes need to be made to address fundamental imbalances in Thai development over the past several decades. A great deal more effort has to be put into promoting rural development, particularly of agriculture, and in addressing the huge regional disparities in income distribution in Thailand. Without such effort, the cities, particularly Bangkok, will continue to be a massive economic lure to children, and parents, and often grandparents, caring for children will see their migration as offering the best hope for their and their families’ advancement. Until this fundamental issue is addressed, the problem of child labour in Thailand is likely to continue.

6.2 Best Practices and Lessons for the Future

(a) Policy Commitment

As discussed above, a core of committed concerned people within the MOLSW, the NCWA and associated with the National Steering Committee on Child Labour has been created over the past decade. This was achieved through education, advocacy and lobbying, with awareness being raised by exposure of high-level bureaucrats to research and information about the scope, nature and realities of child labour in Thailand, in addition to “learning through doing”. Awareness of international concern about the issue, as expressed in concrete terms through organisations such as IPEC and UNICEF, and more broadly through bilateral expressions of concerns and linking to trade, has assisted in this process. Within the Thai context, this would broadly appear to be the “best practice” in achieving policy change, which has led to the adoption of policy and plans to address child labour and children in the commercial sex industry.

In the future, the same mechanisms of education and lobbying need to be extended more broadly. Research findings and information must be disseminated not only to those working in labour issues, but also to those in formal and non-formal education, in economic and social planning, in law enforcement and the judicial system, in trade promotion, and among provincial governors. Better use needs to be made of sympathetic media workers, particularly in newspapers, and consciousness of child labour issues among media workers and administrators raised.

Generally, the education and lobbying process must begin at the highest possible level of the bureaucracy, with carefully-planned seminars and individual meetings to inform these officials about child labour issues. Only after acceptance and support has been achieved among some officials at the highest level is significant on-the-ground action likely to occur, with working level officials receiving appropriate resources and support to take effective action.

(b) Key Strategies and Programmes

(i) Macro Issues

Selection of key objectives and strategies in the battle against child labour needs to be considered at a number of levels. At the broadest level, while the individuals and organisations involved in the battle against child labour cannot individually make a significant impact, they can form alliances with other organisations and individuals campaigning to correct the current imbalance of development in Thailand. Individuals with a high public profile and influence can explain, through media and official channels, the links between child labour and faults in macro-economic policies and directions, which have produced such an imbalance in rural and urban development, and increasing inequalities of income.

As yet, this has not broadly occurred, with most child labour campaigners focusing more narrowly on the problem in their public pronouncements and publications. In part this is a reflection of the fact that the development of a democratic culture has only occurred over recent years in Thailand, and in the past, and possibly still now, too close a links to groups regarded as “radical” may actually harm anti-child labour groups, and lead to changes in public and official attitudes towards them. For this reason, any campaigning alliances need to be chosen carefully and some distance maintained to reduce the risk of negative labels and judgments being applied to organisations working against child labour.

A further high priority area in terms of general societal action is strengthening families and moral values. This requires general advocacy action such as through publicity campaigns, along the model of those already instigated to attempt to discourage demand for commercial sex services focusing around the slogan “One Man, One Wife” and those highlighting the physical and emotion pain suffered by children forced into the commercial sex industry in an attempt to discourage parents selling or encouraging their children into the industry. As is the case in so many other areas, however, it is essential effective monitoring and evaluation of these programmes is conducted to determine the most effective methods and approaches.

Also required is the provision of specific services such as counselling for dysfunctional families whose children are at risk of becoming child labour, to be included within a broader system of social welfare. Issues such as gambling and drug addiction, and parents’ expectation that they can “retire” at a relatively young age and live off the earnings of their children, all need to be addressed. Efforts need to be made to enlist all influential grassroots people, such as teachers, monks and village leaders, in working to combat these problems, and a core of professional social workers and similarly-trained individuals needs to be created to assist families and communities with particular problems. To achieve this, considerable reform and improvement in university curriculum and professional training is needed.

Again, in both of these areas, anti-child labour organisations will probably not be the lead agencies. But they need to communicate and work with the lead agencies to ensure the particular perspectives and concerns about child labour issues are included in these efforts, and measurement of improvements in child labour issues included in project monitoring and evaluation.

(ii) Prevention

In terms of direct action against child labour, prevention programmes are the key priority area. Successful completion of moves by the government to make nine years of schooling compulsory would effectively eliminate a large amount of child labour, at least among Thai citizens, by ensuring children aged up to 15 remained in full-time study. Graduates from Grade Nine would also be in a better position to understand and assert their rights in terms of working conditions, and be in a position to obtain better jobs where they would be less likely to be at risk of suffering from illegal employment conditions.

There has already been considerable success in the push for nine years of compulsory education, but the children who are currently dropping out before that time represent the most vulnerable and victimised group, and programmes by both government and non-government agencies must address their particular problems and needs to ensure they remain, at best, within the school system, or at least, if this is not possible, that they are strongly encouraged to continue studying through the non-formal education system.

Successful implementation of nine years compulsory schooling, however, requires achievement of three key objectives. The first is strengthening the capacity of schools to provide high-quality, relevant education to all children in Thailand. To achieve this purpose, anti-child labour organisations need to increase and strengthen their advocacy efforts in encouraging improvement of the school system, both in terms of quantity and quality of resources, and to encourage the development of flexible, appropriate curriculum guidelines and operation.

Second, in an area in which anti-child labour organisations have particular experience and skills, parents must be informed about the importance of education and motivated to keep their children in school, and the children themselves motivated and encouraged to remain in school and educated about the risks they run and the disadvantages they suffer if they leave school early. Radio and village broadcasting have been identified as the key medium in disseminating information to these target groups, and individual counselling and information sharing are also vitally important, although obviously expensive.

At present a blend of these two approaches would appear to represent the “best practice”. Experience from workers in the field suggests focusing on children, and positively using peer pressure and opinions, may be more effective than targeting parents, although a blend of these approaches is obviously needed. To support these efforts, financial support must be available to ensure the children are able to remain in school, including through the provision of textbooks, uniforms, lunches and geenral scholarships for meeting basic needs such as food.

Thirdly, a strong level of community backing and peer pressure at the village level must be created to support the continuation of schooling for nine years. It is important that key figures such as village heads, monks and teachers are enlisted in the effort, both for their positive influence and to ensure they do not act as agents for employers and thus promoters of child labour. Enlisting their support can generally only be achieved through personal contact, which requires a long time commitment for support and interaction with individuals they both respect and can communicate with, although ensuring that there is strong, high-level support within provincial administrations for the battle against child labour is also important. The “best practice” then, is a blend of “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches.

Finally, there must be recognition that, no matter how efficient and effective the above efforts are, there are likely to always be some cases in which more immediate intervention is essential to protect children. An example of how this can be effectively carried out is the Sema programme in Thailand, in which girls at high risk of entering child labour, identified through well-established and tested criteria, are provided with residential facilities and care.

(iii) Enforcement/Rescue/Reintegration

Although it is difficult to clearly establish cost-effectiveness and programme results within an environment where little evaluation and monitoring of projects has been carried out, international experience and Thai analysis would suggest that prevention efforts are likely to be more effective and long-term than efforts to rescue child labour or work at the level of individual enterprises to improve working conditions to ensure all child workers are legal child workers. Such efforts deal with individual situations, and while assisting individual children, some in great distress, which is obviously essential, it may do little to address the broader societal problem. This work must be done, but should be given a lower priority in development of programmes and projects, and in funding allocation, than prevention efforts.

Government and NGO alliances are particularly critical within this area, with over the past decade a slow development of recognition that in general, while government must take the lead role in enforcement through the MOLSW, the police and the judicial system, NGOs are generally best placed to sensitively and appropriately deal with the needs of rescued child labour. There has also been a recognition that NGOs can be effective in monitoring government enforcement, both by attracting reports from the public of abuses which might not reach official channels, and intervening in areas where official enforcement efforts are ineffective, either through the use of alternate official channels, or, in extreme circumstances, the media.

(iv) Creating Alliances

As discussed throughout this report, while a strong core group of government officials and NGO workers concerned about child labour has been created over the past decade, a great deal more needs to be done to ensure effective coordination and cooperation in their efforts. Building and strengthening individual ties, through meetings and seminars, and through the encouragement of joint programme efforts would appear to be the best approach towards achieving this goal.

The effort to develop provincial plans, particularly in the key child labour “sending” areas in the north and north-east is important, but the difficulties of the process need to be acknowledged. With little tradition of cooperation between different ministries, between government and non-government organisations, and even in cooperation between non-government agencies, difficulties must be expected, and such projects need to be medium- rather than short-term.

Additionally, mechanisms by which government agencies are able to fund or “sub-contract” particular work to NGOs with expertise, experience and more suitable structural conditions (for example in counselling, care and re-integration of child workers into society), need to be strengthened. An awareness of the effectiveness of this strategy needs to be encouraged at the highest policy levels, and simultaneously efforts need to be made to strengthen the capacity of NGOs to absorb such money, to enable them to meet reporting and accounting requirements and effectively sustain long-term programmes.

Simultaneously, more needs to be done to build links between this group and workers in fields critical to the efforts against child labour, such as education, particularly within the government sector. This is closely related to the need to educate these groups about child labour issues, and projects could be conducted to achieve such joint results, including seminars, meetings and training programmes to expose particularly high-level officials to child labour concerns. The “best practice” within Thailand is to begin this work at the highest-possible level, and once support has been enlisted there, projects such as training for operational-level officials are far more likely to have sustainable results.

IPEC, UNICEF and other international partners are vital in the battle against child labour, and they have been broadly effective in building close alliances, particularly with key government areas such as the MOLSW and the NCWA, but they need also to build links with “line” agencies such as the Ministry of Education and the Royal Thai Police, as is beginning to occur. A difficulty for these agencies is the often slow progress of such efforts and setbacks which may occur when individuals with whom close links have been built are transferred and replaced by others not yet exposed or concerned about child labour issues. Although it is difficult in view of the structure and nature of funding sources, wherever possible the “best practice” in Thailand is for these agencies to take at least a medium-term approach, recognising that developing sustainable results cannot be a short-term process. Projects conducted over a one or two-year time-frame are not enough to have significant effects.

There also must, however, from all Thai agencies, be a recognition that in view of Thailand’s overall economic progress, international partners are unlikely to remain in the long-term, so best use must be made of the resources now available, and provisions made for the future. The IPEC approach of “mainstreaming” offers one clear way forward, particularly for government agencies, but NGOs also have to look towards establishing indigenous sources of support.

(vi) Capacity Building

Several areas of key priorities for capacity-building can be identified. The first is in the area of attitudes. Government workers, particularly in “line” ministries, need to be sensitised to the issues and made aware of the actions and activities their organisations can undertake to address child labour problems.

Equally important is the provision of education and training to enhance the capacity of government agencies to identify problems, produce effective strategies for intervention and to implement. Broadly, this means enhancing agencies’ ability to set goals, design and manage projects and monitor and evaluate their effectiveness.

Within NGOs, there is generally a high level awareness of child labour issues, but there is frequently a need to build the capacity to design, manage and evaluate projects, and to meet reporting, accounting and data collection requirements. NGO workers frequently come from backgrounds such as political science, sociology and law, and thus lack a background in statistics, book-keeping and similar skills. To enable effective development of mechanisms by which NGOs can attract, absorb and sustain funding from the Thai government, and to aid their ability to work with international partners such as IPEC, such training is vital, as has already been recognised.

The capacity of most NGOs and government organisations could also be increased by increased adoption of new technology. Many still do not have computers for data collection, maintenance and analysis, for accounting, and for modern communication such as through email, and even facsimile machines. It is vital, however, that if such equipment is purchased or supplied, adequate training and familiarisation, followed by back-up trouble-shooting services, are provided, to ensure the equipment can be fully utilised and maintained.

(vi) Incentives and Disincentives

As discussed in Chapter 5, there have been some international efforts to create disincentives for the use of child labour by means of trade sanctions or withdrawal of trade privileges. However, the realities of the current international environment, and the extra-legal nature of many of the problems of child labour in Thailand and its location chiefly within the informal sector mean these are not unlikely to have a significant impact.

Nationally, there does not yet appear to be sufficient public interest in the issue of child labour or capacity among anti-child labour organisations to develop the type of broad campaign which would be necessary to create economic or social sanctions. Incentives such as tax breaks for employers who choose not to use child labour, or who treat legal child workers very well, have been mooted, but the requirements for policing and ensuring compliance with such schemes would be very formidable.

Chapter VII: Indicators

As discussed in Chapter 6, in Thailand it is important that efforts to promote and implement policies are narrowly focused on a few key priorities. Diffusion of efforts across too broad a range of programmes and projects may lead to expressions of support and good intentions by key actors, but unless this is followed up by close support and monitoring, this may not be translated into effective action on the ground. For this reason, in selecting indicators, within the guidelines provided by the Terms of Reference, by which to judge progress in the battle against child labour, the research teams has chosen to select a few key areas, rather than ranging across all potential areas of policies and programmes on child labour.

The indicators consist of a mixture of qualitative and quantitative measures, as while quantitative measures may be easier to access and collect, the many problems in ensuring their accuracy and standardisation across agencies limit their usefulness in many areas. Effective use of qualitative measures, conversely, requires development of detailed evaluation methods which do not now exist.

(a) Socio-economic Change

1. The percentage of households in the population classed as “poor”.

2. The gap between the income of the top and bottom twenty percent of households.

3. The difference in the average household income in Bangkok and in the north-east and northern regions.

4. The contribution of agriculture to the GDP.

(b) Legislation and Policy

1. The raising of the minimum age for legal child employment to 15 years. (According to the National Plan, this should be completed by 2001.)

2. The expansion of legislation to cover child workers who are now not included under the provisions of the labour law, including those in the informal sector, in agriculture and fisheries, and young people working beside their parents.

3. The development of a detailed implementation plan for “The Child Labour Problem: A Prevention and Solution Plan 1997-2001,” including explanation of funding sources for each programme associated with it, and its activation.

4. The strengthening of the NCLPC and its secretariat, to ensure its effective operation as a coordinating mechanism among and between policy and “line” government agencies.

(c) Implementation of Policy and Plans

1. The number of pilot projects addressing child labour issues effectively transformed into operational programmes on a regional or provincial level.

2. The creation in each “sending” province of a coordinating provincial plan for addressing child labour, incorporating inputs and perspectives from all relevant government agencies and NGOs, and including the operations of each within its framework.

3. The further strengthening of district labour centres in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

4. The number of NGO projects addressing child labour issues funded by the Thai government.

(d) Enforcement and Rescue

1. The number of prosecutions against employers of child labour, both within the internal MOLSW tribunal and the judicial system, lodged, heard and successfully completed.

2. The number of children rescued from abusive circumstances, and the number of these children known to have been successfully re-integrated within their home or other appropriate community.

(d) Media Attention

Measures of media interest in child labour issues are an as yet unutilised but potentially useful indicator in the progress of policies and programmes. All necessary data is now collected by the NSCOL, but has not been analysed. Two potentially useful indicators are easily identified.

1. A quantitative measure of the total number of articles and television items on the issue would give an overall indication of implementation of programmes and their interest to the general community.

2. Qualitatively, an analysis of their contents, for example whether the focus is on individual welfare or broader social issues, would give some indication of the progress of advocacy efforts in increasing understanding and concern about child labour, particularly among key decisionmakers and senior-level officials.

(e) Investment and Reform in Education

1. The level of national spending on primary and secondary education, including vocational training for school-leavers.

2. The retention rates of children from Grade 6 to 7, and Grade 9 to 10.

3. The drop-out rate of children prior to the end of Grade 6, and the drop-out rate in each year following that.

Ideally, there would also be qualitative measures to examine improvements in the quality of education offered. Development of effective measures of progress in this area, however, would require very considerable efforts from specialists in the field. It is thus outside the scope of this study, but nonetheless highly recommended.

Appendix I: Bibliography

Appendix I(A) Bibliography of Material in English

(For convenience the full names of Thai authors are presented in this bibliography whenever possible, as first names are those by which Thai authors are usually best known.)

Aguettant, J.L. ‘Impact of population registration on hilltribe development in Thailand,’ Asia-Pacific Population Journal, Volume 11, No 4, 1995, pp. 47-72.

Archavanitukul, Kritaya, ‘Situation analysis of trafficking of girls and child prostitution policy in Thailand,’ in ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), Stop Trafficking Children for Sexual Purposes: Report of an International Consultation, June 1-3, 1994., End Child Prostitution Association Taiwan, Taipei.

Banpasirichot, Chantana; Taksritaphant, Nittaya; Charobayt, Rattana; A Survey of Child Labourer’s Households in Rural Communities: Decisionmaking, Awareness and Attitudes on Children’s Participation in the Labour Market, 1996, IPEC/ILO, Bangkok.

Banpasirichot, Chantana; Pongsapich, Amara; Child Workers in Hazardous Work in Thailand, Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute, 1992, Bangkok.

Banpasirichot, Chantana, The Situation of Child Labour in Thailand: An Overview, IPEC Thailand Papers No 1, 1996.

Bequele, A. and Myers, W.E., First Things First in Child Labour: Eliminating Work Detrimental to Children, ILO, 1995, Geneva.

Black, M., In the Twilight Zone: Child Workers in the Hotel, Tourism and Catering Industry, , ILO, 1995, Geneva.

Blumberg, R.L. “The intersection of family, gender and economy in the developing world,’ UN Occasional Papers Series No 9, 1994, Vienna.

Boonpala, Panudda, ‘Strategy and action against the commercial sexual exploitation of children,’ prepared for the World Congress on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Sweden, 1996, Geneva.

Brown, T. and Sittrai, Werasit; The Impact of HIV on Children in Thailand, Thai Red Cross Society, 1995, Bangkok.

Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CPCR), ‘Report from a three-day seminar: Research Perspectives on Child Neglect and Abuse, July 29-31, 1997, Asia Hotel, Bangkok,’ Internal document.

Chamratrithirong, Apichart; Archavanitkul, Kritaya; Richter, K.; Guest, P.; Thongthai, Varachhai; Boonchalaski, Wathinee; Piriyathamwong, Nittaya; Vong-Ek, Panee; National Migration Survey of Thailand, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 1995, Bangkok.

Chandravithum, Nikom, Thailand: The Social Costs of Becoming the Fifth Tiger, Woodrow Wilson Center Asia Program Occasional Paper No. 68, 1995, Washington.

Chaturvedi, Suvira, Children At Work: A Report on the UNICEF and ILO/IPEC Workshop on Child Labour and Street Children, 1994, Bangkok.

Chavalitnitikul, Chaiyuth (ed.) Survey of Working Conditions of Child Workers in the Provinces of Kanchanburi, Ratchaburi and Samut Songkhram, Final Report, RICE Project Technical Report, (Undated), Bangkok.

Children’s Rights Protection Centre, Child Labour in Thailand, Undated, Bangkok

Chutikul, Saisuree (ed.), Country Mongraph on the Profile of Youth of Thailand, ESCAP, 1984, Bangkok.

Chutikul, Saisuree, ‘Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in Thailand,’ Paper presented at the International Conference on Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, Manila, November 6-7, 1997, ILO, UNICEF and ECPAT.

Chutikul, Saisuree, ‘Disadvantaged groups and equity considerations with special reference to children, youth and women’s development,’ in Proceedings of the Third UNESCO-ACEID International Conference: Educational Innovation for Sustainable Development, December 1-4, 1997, UNESCO, Bangkok.

Chutikul, Saisuree; Punpeng, Twisuk; Xuto, Nisa, Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances (Thailand), National Youth Bureau, 1987, Bangkok.

Cunningham, H. “Child labour and industrialization,’ working paper, ILO, 1995, Geneva.

DaGrossa, P.S. ‘Kamphaeng Din: A study of prostitution in the all-Thai brothels of Chiang Mai city,’ Crossroads, Volume 4, No 2, 1989, pp. 4-6.

Department of Labour, Yearbook of Labour Statistics 1988, Ministry of Interior, Bangkok.

Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Year Book of Labour Statistics, 1994, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Bangkok.

ESCAP, Population Change, Development and Women’s Role and Status in Thailand, Asian Population Studies Series No 135, UN, New York, 1995.

Falkus, M. ‘A survey of child labour in South-East Asian manufacturing industries: summary and reflections,’ IPEC Asia Papers No 2, 1996, ILO, Bangkok.

Foundation for Child Development (FCD), ‘Child Labour Project,’ (Pamphlet, undated)

Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Cambodian Women’s Development Association (CWDA), Two Reports on the Situation of Women and Children Trafficked from Cambodia and Vietnam to Thailand, March 1997.

Grootaert, C. and Kanbur, R. ‘Child labour: an economic perspective,’ International Labour Review, Volume 134, No 2, 1995, pp. 187-203.

Gunn, S.E., Ostos, Z. ‘Dilemmas in tackling child labour: the case of scavenger children in the Philippines,’ International Labour Review, Volume 131, No 6, 1992, pp. 629-646.

Guest, P. ‘Guesstimating the unestimateable: the number of child prostitutes in Thailand,’ in Ard-am, Oratahai and Sethaput, Chanya, (eds) Child Prostitution in Thailand: A Documentary Analysis and Estimation of the Number of Child Prostitutes, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 1994, Bangkok.

Hasle, P.; Samathakorn, Sirilak; Veeradejkriengkrai, Chittima; Chavalitnitikul, Chaiyuth; Takala, Jukka; Survey of Working Conditions and Environment in Small Scale Enterprises in Thailand, NICE Project Technical Report 12, 1986, Bangkok.

ILO, Department of Labour, National Symposium on the Working Child, October 3-4, 1979, Bangkok.

ILO, “International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, Imprementation Report, Review of IPEC Experience 1992-95, 1995, Geneva.

ILO, ‘Action Programme: Strengthening the role of NGOs and enhancing their networking and cooperation with other potential partners in the prevention of child labour and child prostitution,’ internal working document, August 1995.

ILO, ‘International Labour Conference, Report of the Committee on the Application of Standards,’ Eighty-Second Session, Geneva, 1995.

ILO, “International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, Programme and Budget for 1996-7,’ 1995, Geneva.

ILO, Child Labour Surveys: Results of Methodological Experiments in Four Countries, 1992-3, 1996, Geneva.

ILO, Child Labour: Targetting the Intolerable, 1996, Geneva.

ILO, ‘Child labour: what is to be done?’ Document for discussion at the Informal Triparttite Meeting at the Ministerial Level, June 12, Geneva, 1996.

ILO, “International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, ILO-IPEC Highlights for 1996-97 and Guidelines for Future Action,’ 1996, Geneva.

ILO, “International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, Programme Progress Report,’ ILO Bangkok Internal Document.

ILO, ‘Report of proceedings: awareness raising workshop on child labour for trade union leaders,’ ILO internal document, RAS/94/MO1/BEL, 1997.

ILO, Training Materials for the Awareness Raising Workshop on Child Labour, for ILO Programme RAS/94/M01/BEL, “Workers’ Education Assistance to Strengthen Trade Union Action on Women Workers in View of Child Labout in Selected South East Asian Countries,” Pattaya, Thailand, April, 1997.

IPSR (Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University) Mahidol Population Gazette, Volume 4, No 3, 1996.

Kabilsingh, Chatsumarn, Thai Women in Buddhism, Parallax Press, 1991, Berkeley

Kachacupt, Supin, ‘ILO-IPEC action programmes in Thailand: lessons learned from the first biennium,’ submitted to ILO, 1995, Bangkok.

Kaime-Atterhog, Wanjiku; Ard-Am, Orathai; Sethaput, Chanya; ‘Child prostitution in Thailand: a documentary assessment,’ in Ard-am, Oratahai and Sethaput, Chanya, (eds) Child Prostitution in Thailand: A Documentary Analysis and Estimation of the Number of Child Prostitutes, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 1994, Bangkok.

Kakwani, Nanak and Krongkaew, Medhi, ‘Big reduction in poverty,’ in Bangkok Post: Economic Review Year-end 1996, Bangkok.

Labour Development and Welfare Department, Thammasat University, ‘Elimination of child labour problems in Thailand: lessons learned from the 1994-1995 action programme,’ submitted to ILO, 1996, Bangkok.

Lazo, L. (ed.) Homeworkers of Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Social Protection in Thailand, ILO, 1992, Bangkok.

Lazo, L. (ed.) From the Shadows to the Fore: Practical Actions for the Social Protection of Homeworkers in Thailand, ILO, 1993, Bangkok.

Maldonado, C. ‘The informal sector: legalisation or laissez-faire?’ International Labour Review, 1995, Volume 134, No 6, pp. 705-728.

Meesok, Ambhorn; Attig, G.A.; Phijaisanit, Pensri; Prioirity Issues for Women, Health and Development in Thailand: A Resource Book for Strategic Planning and Policymaking, National Commission on Women’s Affairs, 1995, Bangkok.

Ministry of Education, ‘Se-Ma Life Development Project,’ 1997, Bangkok.

Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Child Labour Information Centre), Child Labour Indicators, 1996, October 1996, Bangkok.

Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, The Child Labour Problem “A Prevention and Solution Plan 1997-2001 (draft), Presented at the National Forum on National Policy and Plan of Action on Prevention and Solution to Child Labour In Thailand, Febraury 9, 1996, Bangkok.

Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Policies and Selected Programmes on Child Labour, 1997, Bangkok.

Myer, W.E. ‘Urban working children: a comparison of four surveys from South America,’ International Labour Review, Volume 128, No 3, 1989, pp. 321-335.

Nakornthap, Silaporn; Boonkong, Saiwaroon; Sipmuenpium, Nopamonthon; ‘A country review on the mobilization of teachers, educators and their organizations in Combating Child Labour in Thailand,’ Report submitted to the ILO, 1996, Bangkok. (Also in Thai.)

National Commission on Women’s Affairs (NCWA), Thailand’s Report on The Status of Women and Platform for Action, 1994, Prepared for the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, Office of the Prime Minister, 1995, Bangkok. National Commission on Women’s Affairs (NCWA), Perspective Policies and Planning for the Development of Women (1992-2001), Office of the Prime Minister, 1995, Bangkok.

National Committee for the Eradication of Commercial Sex, National Policy and Plan of Action for the Prevention and Eradication of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, 1996, Bangkok.

National Economic and Social Development Board, Government of Thailand: The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plans, 1982-1986, 1987-1991, 1992-1996, 1997-2001, 1997, Bangkok.

National Statistical Office (NSO), 1990 Population and Housing Census: Whole Kingdom, (undated),Bangkok.

National Statistical Office (NSO), 1990 Population and Housing Census: Subject Report No 5: Economic Activity Characteristics, undated, Bangkok.

National Statistical Office (NSO), Report of the Labour Force Survey, Whole Kingdom, February 1995, Bangkok.

National Statistical Office (NSO), Statistical Booklet on Thai Women and Men, 1995, Bangkok.

National Youth Bureau, Second Asian Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, February 8-13, 1988, Final Report, Bangkok.

National Youth Bureau, Second Asian Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Prevention and Protection of Working Children and Abandoned Children: Country Reports and Case Studies, 1988, Bangkok.

National Youth Commission and National Youth Bureau, Thailand’s Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1996, Bangkok.

Neal, L. (ed.) Our Children Our Future, Nation Publishing, 1994, Bangkok.

Ngamsanga, Sampan, Final output report: appraisal of risk factors and the development of intervention strategies by the Child Labour Group Samutprakarn,’ ILO internal document, 1996.

Office of the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Report: First National Assembly on Child Development, Government House, August 30-31, 1990, Bangkok.

Pejaranonda, Chintana; Santipaporn, Sureerat; Guest, P. ‘Rural-urban migration in Thailand,’ in ESCAP, Trends, Patterns and Implications of Rural-Urban Migration in India, Nepal and Thailand, Asian Population Studies Series No 138, 1995, Bangkok.

Phongpaichit, Pasuk; Baker, C. Thailand’s Boom!, Silkworm Books, 1996, Chiang Mai.

Phongpaichit, Pasuk; Baker, C. Thailand: Economy and Politics, Oxford University Press/Asia Books, 1997, Oxford.

Phongphaichit, Pasuk; Piriyarangsanan, Sungsidh; Treerat, Nualnoi; Challenging Social Exclusion: Rights and Livelihood in Thailand, International Institute for Labour Studies, Research Series No 107, 1996, Geneva.

Pongsapich, Amara, Recent Trends in International Migration in Asia, Asian Population Studies Series No 137, ESCAP, 1995, Bangkok.

Prachankhadee, Benjamas; Nelayothin, Amphorn; Intrasukporn, Naengnoi; Montawan, Vinat; The Child Labour in Thailand, Women and Child Division, Department of Labour, 1978, Bangkok.

Rayanakorn, Kobkul, Special Study on Laws relating to Prostitution and Traffic in Women, Foundation for Women, 1995, Bangkok.

Richter, K. and Ard-Am, Orathai, Child Labour in Thailand’s Fishing Industry: A Case Study of Samut Sakhon, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, 1989, Bangkok.

Roongshivin, Peerathep; Thanaphibul, Voravaun, ‘Activities and programmes concerning the conditions of working children in industry in Thailand,’ Prepared for ILO/Bangkok, 1985, Bangkok.

Rungaroon, Chatchai, ‘Report of the action programme: protecting child workers in the garment manufacturing industries in Chiangmai,’ Internal ILO document.

Salazar, M.C. and Glasinovich, W.A., Better Schools, Less Child Work: Child Work and Education in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru, UNICEF, Florence, 1998.

Satha-Anand, Suwanna, ‘Thai Prostitution, Buddhism and ‘New Rights’ in Southeast Asia,’ Paper Presented for the Workshop New Issues in East Asian Human Rights, Seoul, Korea, October, 1996.

Shah, P.M. ‘Physical and mental health of working children: gaps in our knowledge and challenge for the paediatricians,’ Introductory remarks at the Workshop on Health Aspects of Child Labout, Fourth International Confress on Tropical Paediatrics, July 7-11, 1996, Kuala Lumpur.

Sirorattanakul, Tanida, “Child Participation in the Media: Some Outstanding Examples in Thailand,’ ILO/IPEC, September 1997, Bangkok.

Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University, ‘Final output report on survey on child labour households in rural communities: decision-making, awareness and attitudes on children’s participation in the labour market,’ ILO internal document.

Sussangkarn, Chalongphob, ‘Labour market developments and international migration in Thailand,’ in OECD, Migration and the Labour Market in Asia: Prospects to the Year 2000, 1996, Paris, pp. 125-136..

Terdudomtham, Thamavit, ‘Analysts taken by surprise,’ Bangkok Post: Economic Review Year-end 1996, Bangkok.

Thijs, G. ‘Child labour: trends and challenges in Asia,’ Background document prepared for the Asia Regional Consultation on Child Labour, Lahore, 11-13 August, 1997, IPEC.

Thomson, Suteera; Bhongsvej, Maytinee, Profile of Women in Thailand, ESCAP, 1995, Bangkok.

Tosakul, Kamonluck, The Evolutions of Labour During the Two Hundred Years of Rattanakosin, Department of Labour, 1985, Bangkok

UNICEF, Thailand’s Children: A Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Thailand (Draft), 1993, Bangkok.

United Nations, World’s Women: 1995 Trends and Statistics, New York, 1995.

Wun’Gaeo, Surichai, Rural Roots of Urban Child Labour in Thailand, Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University, 1985, Bangkok.

Appendix I(B) Bibliography of Material in Thai

Chanya, Kasorn, “Concluding report of the seminar Alien Child Labout: Situation, Problems and Solutions,’ December 1996, Working Group on Alien Child Labour at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.

Child Development Foundation, Alien Child Labour: Another Situation of Child Labour Crisis, August 1992, Bangkok.

Child Labour Information Centre, Child Labour Indicators: 1996, Women and Child Labour Division, Department of Welfare and Labour Protection, Bangkok.

Child Welfare Thailand Association, National Council for Child and Youth Development and the House Committee on Women, Youth and the Elderly, ‘Recommendations for revising the Child Law, draft of Children and Youth Welfare and Security Protection Act and recommendation for a Child in Agricultural Sector Protection Law,’ Undated, Bangkok.

Chutikul, Saisuree; Punpeng, Twisuk; and Xuto, Nisa, Children in Especially Difficult Situations (Thailand), 1987, National Youth Bureau, Bangkok.

Committee on Child Rearing Study Development, Thai Children in Crisis: Not Too Late to Solve: Analysis and Recommendations for Thai Child Development, January 1994, Bangkok.

Kwanaree, Kannika, et al., ‘Report on guidelines for development of implementation intervention process reducing risk factors towards child labour,’ April 1996, Child Labour Project in Samutprakan, Social Alliance Group, Samutprakan.

Nakornthap, Seelaporn; Boonkhong, Saivaroon; and Sipmeumpiam, Napthamonthon’Study report on implementation model for promotion of teachers and school participation in protection and resolving child labour in Thailand,’ June 1996, Bangkok.

National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) Consulting Centre, ‘Survey of the child labour project – pilot project in Kanchanaburi and Ubonratchatani, findamental study report, revised edition,’ 1997, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Bangkok.

National Statistical Office, Collected Statistics by Statistical Units in Thailand, Fiscal Year 2537-2538, 1995, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

National Youth Bureau, ‘Report of research: security and development of child labour in industry, ‘ 1986, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

National Youth Bureau, Child and Youth Development Plan in the Seventh National Economic and Social Development Plan (1992-1996), 1992, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

National Youth Bureau, Child and Youth Development Plan in the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001), 1997, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

Ngamkasem, Pornthip, ‘The analysis of measures on child labour utilisation: a study on child labour in cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectioneries,’ Masters Thesis, Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasart University, 1982, Bangkok.

Nophakhun, Ounta, ‘Report of research on child welfare problems and the reactions of NGOs,’ April 1989, Child Welfare Thailand Association, Bangkok.

Office of the National Education Commission, Estimated Targets of Pupils in Various Groups in Academic Years 2540-2544, 1997, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

Office of the National Education Commission, Estimated Targets of Pupils in the Eighth National Education Development Plan (1997-2001), 1997, Office of the Prime Minister, Bangkok.

Rajabhat Institute Chinag Rai, ‘Occupation needs of children in Chiang Rai,’ January 1997, Chiang Rai.

Soonthornthada, Kusol and Patharavanich, Umaphorn, ‘Alien child labour’s situation,’ Document prepared for the Seminar on Alien Child Labour: Situation, Problems and Solutions, November 13, 1996, Bangkok.

Southern Research Consultants, ‘ Final report of problem analysis and attitude of employers towards child labour projects, proposed to the Child Rights Protection Centre, 1996, Bangkok.

Srilookwa, Wichien and Wansri, Sakul, ‘Study report on job accomplishment of youth in groups in Thailand,’October 1996, National Council for Child and Youth Development, Bangkok.

Sukha, Sufjai, ‘Study report of the pilot project for occupational development of youth in rural areas,’ May 1997, National Council for Child and Youth Development, Bangkok.

Thai Women of Tomorrow, “Concluding Report on the research project educational and vocational training standard criteria development for female youth at risk of entering undesirable occupations (Siksasonkhor Chitaree School, Lampang Province),’ November 1996, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai.

Thai Women of Tomorrow, “Concluding Report on the research project educational and vocational training standard criteria development for female youth at risk of entering undesirable occupations (Suksasongkhor Maechan School, Chiang Rai Province),’ November 1996, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai.

Thai Women of Tomorrow, “Concluding Report on the research project educational and vocational training standard criteria development for female youth at risk of entering undesirable occupations (Ratprachanukhor School 24, Phayao Province),’ November 1996, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai.

Thai Yuwa Kasetkorn Foundation under the Patronage of HRM Pinces Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, ‘Pilot project for occupational development of child labour in the agricultural sector in Kanchanaburi, Songkhla and Northeast provinces,’ July 1996-June 1997, Bangkok.

Welfare and Labour Protection Office, Chiang Rai Province, ‘Research Report: Survey of Child Labour in Chiang Rai Province,’ Edition Four, May 1997, Chiang Rai.

Wongsrirat, Sombat; and Ophatom, Sawai, ‘Research report on “Survey of occupational development organisations for youth in rural areas and study of factors affecting accomplishment and failure of short-term vocational training activities,’ April, 1994, National Council for Child and Youth Development, Bangkok.

Appendix I(C): Newspaper Articles in Thai English-Language Media Relevant to the Child Labour Issue

The following is as comprehensive as possible a list of articles relevant to the child labour issue (but not including those focused specifically on child prostitution) which appeared in Thailand’s two main English-language newspapers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation from 1995 until August 1997. As discussed in Appendix II (Case K) and the text, the material was compiled in an attempt to examine attitudes of the educated public and opinion-makers to the issue, but the analysis is necessarily brief, and a more detailed examination of this material would be valuable.

Anon. “Axe awaits dozens of panels,’ Nation, October 12, 1995.

Anon. ‘Probe underway into Chiang Mai child labour abuse racket,’ Nation, November 10, 1995.

Anon. ‘Exploiting the young ones,’ Nation, December 9, 1995.

Anon. ‘Thai newspapers,’ Bangkok Post, February 29, 1996, p. 8.

Anon. ‘Police and vice puts stain on human rights record,’ Bangkok Post, March 8, 1996, p. 1.

Anon. ‘Dateline Bangkok,’ Bangkok Post, May 2, 1996, p. 8.

Anon. ‘Factory girls say they were forced to swallow insecticide,’ Bangkok Post, July 11, 1996, p. 3.

Anon. ‘Laid off stage rally to win better deal,’ Bangkok Post, September 27, 1996, p. 4.

Anon. ‘Sawai wants alien rule revoked,’ Bangkok Post, November 15, 1996, p. 4.

Anon. ‘Canada’s PM to revive UN contact group idea,’ Bangkok Post, December 27, 1997, p. 6.

Anon. ‘New panel to protect abused kids,’ Bangkok Post, December 27, 1997, p. 3.

Anon. ‘PM pledges full support for austerity programme,’ Bangkok Post, January 1, 1997, p. 1.

Anon. ‘Labour to set up hot-line for child abuse complaints,’ Bangkok Post, January 17, 1997, p. 6.

Anon. ‘US document cites abuses in Thailand,’ Bangkok Post, February 1, 1997, p. 1.

Anon. ‘Talks on child prostitution,’ Bangkok Post, February 14, 1997, p. 2.

Anon. ‘Chavalit pledges full backing for IT,’ Bangkok Post, February 26, 1997, Database, p. 1.

Anon. ‘Our children deserve better,’ Bangkok Post, (Translated from Matichon), March 12, 1997, p. 11.

Anon. ‘Senators divided over human rights commission,’ Bangkok Post, May 11, 1997, p. 3.

Anon. ‘Move to save boys from sex crimes,’ Bangkok Post, May 20, 1997, p. 1.

Anon. ‘Doctors ‘reluctant to treat victims’,’ Bangkok Post, June 6, 1997, p. 5.

Anon. ‘Give our children a chance in life,’ (editorial), Bangkok Post, June 25, 1997, p. 6.

Assavanonda, Vira, ‘Child labour prevention plan proposed by state authorities,’ Bangkok Post, February 15, 1997, p. 2.

Bachoe, Ralph and Charasdamrong, Prasong, ‘Escape to Thailand,,’ Bangkok Post, January 17, 1997, Perspective, p. 4.

Bangprapa, Mongkol, ‘Benefits bill makes way through House,’ Bangkok Post,

Charoenpo, Anucha, ‘A 22-hour work day and brutal treatment for no pay,’ Bangkok Post, July 12, 1996, p. 3.

Cheang, Wee Soo, ‘Anti-prostitution groups prepare for cash injection,’ Nation, September 3, 1995.

Ekachai, Sanitsuda, ‘Finding jobs for the girls,’ Bangkok Post, August 8, 1996, Outlook, p. 1.

Huttasingh, Omnucha, ‘Studies show who benefits from alien workers here,’ Bangkok Post, May 25, 1997, p. 3.

Huttasingh, Omnucha, ‘New national body sought to tackle issue of alien workers,’ Bangkok Post, May 29, 1997, p. 4.

Janchitfah, Supara, ‘From the lips of the children,’ Bangkok Post, December 15, 1996, Perspective, p. 1.

Jirathun, Kritsada, ‘A ray of hope for poor northern children,’ Bangkok Post, April 15, 1997, Outlook, p. 1.

Khaikaew, Thaksina, and Janchitfah, Supara, ‘Children’s plight shocks Brundtland,’ Bangkok Post, October 9, 1997, p. 2.

Muntarbhorn, Viti, ‘Social clauses as sanctions should be used as a last resort,’ Nation, November 22, 1995, p. 1.

Nakornthap, Amornwit, ‘Tracing our children who fall through the net,’ Bangkok Post, June 21, 1997, p. 8.

Nakornthap, Amornwit, ‘The truth behind school figures,’ Bangkok Post, July 2, 1997, p. 10.

Pongvutitham, Achara, ‘Make the most of GSP privileges, exporters urged,’ Nation, December 21, 1995, p. 1.

Post reporters, ‘New guidelines on Thai image abroad,’ Bangkok Post, December 31, 1996, p. 2.

Santimataneedol, Ampa, ‘Govt gets message: Tackle child abuse,’ Bangkok Post, January 17, 1997, p. 1

Sukpanich, Tunya, ‘NGOs feel the strain of developed society,’ Bangkok Post, February 11, 1996, Perspective, p. 1.

Sukpanich, Tunya, ‘Begging business,’ Bangkok Post, September 22, 1996, Perspective p. 5.

Sukrung, Karnjariya, ‘Whither the children?’ Bangkok Post, November 23, 1996, Outlook, p. 1

Tangkananurak, Wallop, ‘Children: our most valuable asset,’ Bangkok Post, February 25, 1996, p. 12.

Tansubhapol, Kulcharee, ‘Perils of the streets,’ Bangkok Post, May 27, 1996, Outlook, p. 1.

Tansubhapol, Kulcharee, ‘The silent workforce,’ Bangkok Post, June 21, 1997, Outlook p. 1.

Tansubhapol, Bhanravee, ‘NGOs urged to talk up Thailand,’ Bangkok Post, October 10, 1997, p. 2.

Teerawichitchainan, Bussarawan, ‘For sale: Burmese virgins,’ Bangkok Post, June 13, 1997, Outlook, p. 1.

Thaitawat, Nusara and Pongpairoj, Vithamon, ‘ASEAN firm on not linking social issues to trade,’ Bangkok Post, April 24, 1996, p. 1.

Thapanachai, Somporn, ‘Thailand may hurt from new US child labour bill,’ Bangkok Post, August 6, 1996, p. 23.

Thapanachai, Somporn and Arunmart, Phusadee, ‘Industry group hails labour law amendment,’ Bangkok Post, December 19, 1996, Business, p. 1.

Teerawichitchainan, Bussarawan, ‘Guiding light for child workers,’ Bangkok Post, Tuesday, May 27, 1997, Outlook p. 1.

Tongpiam, Jutarat, ‘The school of compassion,’ Bangkok Post, , June 17, 1997, Outlook p. 1.

Vejpongsa, Tassanee, ‘The easiest of targets,’ Bangkok Post, April 8, 1996, Outlook, p. 1.

Wannabovorn, Sutin, ‘No place to call home,’ Bangkok Post, February 27, 1997, Outlook, p. 1.

Appendix III: Case Studies

(Where case studies of individual children are provided, pseudonyms have been used to protect their privacy.)

Case A: The Klong San Unit for Receiving Complaints About Child Labour and Prostitution

The research team visited this unit as an example of one of 19 set-up within Bangkok and the surrounding region, each covering two districts (the standard administrative unit). In existence for three years, its staff consists of seven labour inspectors who are obviously committed and keen on their work, although bearing heavy responsibilities. They were selected by means of a competitive examination and have university degrees from a variety of areas, including law, political science and economics. They received five days initial training in inspection work and have since received further on-the-job training.

The bulk of their work consists of conducting routine inspections of factories and workplaces, during which they are responsible for examining compliance with all labour laws, not only those relating to child labour. During these sessions they speak with legal child workers and attempt to encourage them to enrol and continue further education, providing information on non-formal education and scholarship opportunities. Child workers are also taken on occasional recreational day-trips.

The inspectors also conduct training session on legal provisions on child labour, holding regular sessions for about 60 employers for one day. They also respond to reports of labour infractions from the general public, which are encouraged by means of a publicity campaign using stickers, posters, pamphlets and similar means, and complaints from workers, although they said these had never been known to come from children, who were usually keen to work.

Speaking about some recent cases they had handled, the inspectors referred to the case of a factory manufacturing silver jewelry, which had twice been found to be using illegal child labour. The factory was located after the unit received complaints and found children from the southern province of Nakhon Sri Thamarat aged under 13 working with their relatives without pay. The employer defended their employment, saying otherwise they would be at home doing nothing, and that the children were receiving vocational training, but she was finally ordered to pay a 20,000 baht fine and the children were paid the appropriate minimum wage for their period of work.

A few months later, the same employer was again found to be employing children, two aged 12 and five 13-14 without permission, in addition to two 16-17 year olds, and to not be providing payment for their overtime work. Some were Karen children (a hill tribe group) and could not speak Thai, while others were again from Nakhon Sri Thammarat. The inspectors said the children were quite happy with their conditions and cried when told they would have to return home, where they said there was nothing to eat. As a second offender, the employer was taken to court and ordered to perform community service and to pay fines of about 200,000 baht, in addition to paying the children full wages and overtime payments. The same operators were still running a jewelry manufacturing business, the inspectors said, but had moved to another district and changed the name of their company. Khlong San informed that district of the move and expected the company would be closely monitored.

The inspectors said this story received coverage in a major Thai-language daily newspaper, which had obtained information from the police. The inspectors said generally they did not make it a policy to encourage press coverage of cases of labour abuses they uncovered, as in some cases the employees might not want their personal problems revealed, or it might even be actively harmful to their futures.

The inspectors dealt with 15 cases in which legal proceedings were instituted last year. They fell into two main groups, several others also being silver jewelry manufacturers with ties to Nakhon Sri Thamarat and others being small to mid-sized garment factories.

While this was obviously a very effective unit, its members identified a number of problems they encountered in their work. They pointed out in the area for which they were responsible there are 9,172 registered factories with 112,023 employees, with an additional 6,669 identified small enterprises with over 30,000 employees. For seven officials to cover this many enterprises presents obvious problems, and these figures do not include household enterprises and micro-enterprises which are most likely to infringe labour laws.

The Unit has no computers and inspectors indicated responsibilities for completing paperwork, filing reports etcetera were a heavy burden, with no supporting clerical or administrative staff. They said they had no time to keep detailed records, and it appeared there was little or no method of transmitting their experiences to other units or to a central information unit. Their experience of child labour problems with children from Nakhon Sri Thamarat came as a surprise to the research team, as this appears to have not previously been documented, with a general supposition there are no significant child labour problems originating from southern Thailand.

The inspectors indicated they did not feel there was strong community support for their child labour work, with a general feeling that if children needed or wanted to work to help their parents, the law should not prevent this. If children stayed at home without working or studying, there were community and family fears they would become delinquent, and possibly involved in drug use or other crimes from boredom. There was also resistance to the fact that by law children are entitled to the same minimum wage as adults, the inspectors said, with children being perceived as less productive and reliable than adult workers.

The inspectors indicated they had not received any complaints about child prostitution, and appeared likely to have some problems in dealing with such complaints, should they be received.

Elements of Best Practice

* The Klong San unit illustrates the advantages of officials operating as a small and close-knit team, with a minimum of hierarchical divisions, and covering a relatively small geographical area.

* The careful and competitive selection of quality, well-trained staff who have chosen to work in this particular area has obviously been effective in this case.

Case B: Ban Khanoon School

Ban Khanoon School is located in the poorest province in Thailand, Sri Sa Ket, in one of the poorest areas of that province. For a majority of its pupils Thai is a second language, with Khmer being spoken at home. It recently extended into offering lower secondary education, with the senior pupils now in Grade Eight.

According to principal Sitiporn Ornkrang, this has produced a very high retention rate of pupils, who would not previously have been able or prepared to travel to the nearby provincial capital of Surin for secondary education. So far, fewer than five percent of pupils had dropped out of the secondary years and he hoped as many as 50 percent of the pupils would continue to 10th grade, which would require travelling two kilometres to Surin. Khun Sitiporn said parents and pupils were enthusiastic about the further education, particularly to Grade Nine, as they were well aware of the higher salaries they might then be able to obtain.

IPEC funding assisted the expansion of the school, which was dictated by government policy, as past of a much broader project which included piloting education materials on child labour in five provinces. There was however no additional government funding provided for the expansion into secondary classes, and so the school found itself lacking in classrooms, teachers and training equipment. The problem of classrooms had been overcome with village support in building new facilities, and teachers simply had to work harder, taking more classes and using curriculum guides to instruct in classes such as science and maths for which they had no training. The school has however received some government funding to provide computer training, with teacher scheduled to be instructed in computers before the equipment is obtained. There must be some concerns, however, about the school’s ability to handle this technological leap.

Some of the IPEC money has been used to develop a skill training curriculum, covering areas such as tailoring and auto-mechanics, as a result of local initiative. Further direction, encouragement and funding from higher levels in the Ministry of Education would obviously be helpful in boosting this worthwhile direction. The school has also begun providing sex education in Grades Five and Six with particular concern of protecting the girls from enticement into the commercial sex industry or sexual abuse.

Also using IPEC funding, the school also trialled a programme to educate children about their rights and entitlements as workers. Khun Sitiporn said he thought at least 50 percent of his pupils would still migrate to Bangkok to work, but they would be at less risk of being exploited than would have been the case without the special school programme. He said, however, it was difficult to sustain the employment rights training programme, as it relied on teachers finding space in busy schedules to offer the information. It was sometimes provided during morning school assemblies, but this relied on the initiative of individual teachers who shared responsibility for running these.

The children would migrate because there were few employment opportunities locally, with only agricultural day labour available. This could not be relied upon for a regular income, Khun Sitiporn said Additionally, children saw migrants returning from the city with material goods, including clothing, cash and even gold, and so were attracted to the city.

Elements of Best Practice

* This project operated in an environment of enthusiastic local support, including a preparedness both from teachers and community leaders and members to contribute to its efforts. Beginning work in such areas is an obvious way of maximising resources and effectiveness. The project highlights, however, the need to also have higher-level support and ongoing funding to ensure sustainability.

Case C: Volunteer Child Labour Monitors

In 1996, the MOLSW instituted a project to appoint child labour volunteers in 22,000 of the 33,000 villages nationwide. The village volunteers were to have responsibility for preventing child labour by interviewing potential child migrant workers, encouraging them to continue their education or otherwise pointing them to government services such as assistance in finding employment or non-formal education, to ensure they were protected or could protect themselves. They also were to have responsibility for passing on information they might receive about exploitative conditions being endured by child workers from their village in other areas, and for keeping statistics to determine if children in each village continued their education, migrated, worked locally or chose other life courses.

In Sri Sa Ket province, the research team spoke to one such village volunteer in Village Number Nine in Amphoe Pon Yang. He said there were about 40 children who finished Grade Six that year and only three did not continue to further education, due to the poverty of their parents. These children instead migrated to Bangkok to work with their parents.

Further discussion with the volunteer and with provincial MOLSW officials revealed, however, that after the initial year, the volunteer project had effectively broken down. Volunteers received a small honorarium of 400 baht in the first year, but no further funds (although attempts are being made within the Ministry in Bangkok to institute a system of annual payments to volunteers to promote continuation of the programme). Volunteers point out that to carry out their duties could require making phone calls or posting material to provincial labour offices, or even travelling to the provincial capital, and without outside funding they could not generally afford to do this.

Volunteers received no regular forms or data collection material, and at the village level it is obvious that few would be comfortable or able to simply produce a written report without clear directions. There is no clear mechanism for volunteers to report to their provincial labour office, and the volunteer from Village Seven indicated he did not know anyone there, making it extremely unlikely he would approach the office.

Volunteers had also received no suitable information they might have passed on to village children and their families. The Village Seven volunteer indicated one child had ceased studying because of a problem with his household registration documents, which provincial officials said should and could have been easily sorted out.

In the Centre for the Protection of Women and Child Labour, officials suggested that the volunteer programme, while worthwhile, could not, at least outside the smallest provinces, be maintained without another layer of structures between the volunteers and the provincial level. This would logically be at the amphoe level, reducing the cost of communications for volunteers and, very importantly, allowing them to speak with a level of official, in a more informal environment, with which they are likely to feel more comfortable.

The research team spoke to several children and young people in Village Seven who had decided to continue their education.

Nom is an 18-year-old who after completing Grade Six went to Bangkok and worked for two years, helping her parents who worked in a jewelry factory. She was not paid, but acted as messenger and assistant to them. She also worked in a garment factory, then decided to do a Department of Labour training course in sewing, but found that after completing the 45-day course her skills were not adequate to obtain work. She is now studying in Ninth Grade, and hopes to continue her education to study commerce at a tertiary level, hopefully at university, although she indicated this might depend very much on family finances. During school holidays she returns to the jewelry factory and works for 3,000 baht per month. Nom said she thought she would ask for a government loan to assist in the cost of her studies next year.

Soo is a 19-year-old now studying in Grade Twelve. Her parents are farmers and also migrate regularly to Bangkok during the dry season to work in the construction industry. She originally left school after Grade Six and completed the Department of Labour 45-day sewing course, but found with that training she was unable to earn any money. She then spent a year helping her mother on their farm before, with the assistance of a government scholarship, continuing her studies. It appears her parents are not very enthusiastic about her continuing to study, but Soo is obviously very determined, and said she wanted to go to university and study chemistry, so she could become a science teacher.

Nom said her experience of working in Bangkok had been valuable as she had learned both vocational skills and about different lifestyles and city life. Soo, however, said that having been to Bangkok she would be happy never to return, as she did not like the frantic lifestyle and the way people had to “fight for survival” and be concerned about being cheated.

Elements of Best Practice

* The concept of village volunteers allows government efforts to address child labour issues to reach right into the grassroots level, in a way that would otherwise be almost impossible.

* Operating effectively, village volunteers who communicated regularly with provincial or amphoe level officials would provide a very effective network for gathering both qualitative and quantitative information, being better placed than any outsider to know of the real circumstances and intentions of village children.

Case D: Huay Krai School

Huay Krai School is located in a town in northern Thailand, close to the Burmese border, in an area from which large numbers of girls have entered the commercial sex industry in recent years. It offers classes from grades one to nine, having recently expanded into secondary courses. It is an area with a large number of hill tribe families, but teachers said only about 1 percent of pupils were unable to obtain Thai identity cards, which severely restricts their job opportunities. Schooling is free, but pupils must pay for uniforms, books and lunches, with the school finding funding for only the very poorest. Few pupils go onto to further schooling, with many getting jobs at the nearby Doi Tung Royal-supported handicraft project which produces largely traditional handicrafts.

Largely through the initiative of one young female teacher, the school has instituted a vocational training programme. For girls, this is concentrated in the areas of sewing and weaving, with the intention of also maintaining traditional craft skills from the area. It has received about 300,000 baht in support from IPEC as a very small part of a larger capacity-building project in the far north. This has gone towards establishing a vocational training room with 13 treadle sewing machines and purchase of ten looms, housed in a building paid for with the teacher’s own funds, and for the initial purchase of materials and establishment of a revolving fund for future purchases.

Courses in sewing and weaving are available to older primary and secondary students in the one hour per day allocated to optional courses. Once pupils have reached a minimal skill level, they may also work in their free time, either after school or on weekends, to produce items for sale. The school purchases these on completion (paying for example 10 baht for each woven mat completed) and then sells them, either to visitors through the vocational training room or at fairs, conferences and other regional gatherings, allowing the purchase of further materials.

There are obvious limitations in this project in that the skill level reached by students is not generally very high, or likely to produce a significant income level. It attempts to link with the Doi Tung project, but the lead teacher herself noted, sadly, the case of a girl, finishing ninth grade, for whom the teacher had arranged a job at Doi Tung for a salary of 2,000 baht per month. However, the girl chose instead to take work as a singer in a karaoke lounge (an occupation with a significant risk of leading to entry into the commercial sex industry) at 4,000 baht per month, with the girl telling the teacher that as she had already purchased a motorbike, she needed the money to meet the repayments.

At another nearby, similar school at Huay Saaw, the problem of the commerciality of skills has been addressed by trying to provide training in computer skills, but there problems have been encountered in obtaining enough machines of adequate modernity to teach students useful skills (for example the school now has no computers capable of running the popular Windows programmes), and in providing maintenance and skills necessary for teachers to train students. Three students typically have to work on one computer and teachers admit the skills obtained are not adequate for employment, without further training. Huay Saaw school has encountered similar problems in attempting to introduce a welding programme.

Elements of Best Practice

* The Huay Krai project at least draws on local skills (with teachers being local traditional craftswomen).

* While the skills may be of only limited commercial use, they may be important in building confidence and self-belief, both through valuing traditional cultural skills and allowing girls to make at least a limited income while still attending school.

Case E: Daughters’ Education Programme (DEP)

DEP is an NGO established in 1989 in northern Thailand to aid girls at risk of entering the commercial sex industry. It now has its own centre in Mae Sai, near the border with Burma. Attracting considerable funding from a wide range of international sources, it has since become involved in a very wide range of projects including seven vocational training centres in Chiang Rai province, AIDS education, assisting beggars and street children, research and information projects, most recently focusing on the international child trafficking concerns of this area, close to Myanmar, Lao PDR and China.

In common with many other NGOs, one of the main problems facing DEP is its extreme reliance on one person, the organisation’s founder, and on the assistance of volunteers and quasi-volunteers (very low-paid workers), both foreign and Thai, the former often only spending relatively short periods of time with the organisation, the latter often bearing very significant burdens of work and responsibility at high risk of producing “burnout”. But this case study will focus two aspects of its work which have been highly successful.

One is the live-in programme for girls, primarily from the Akka hill tribe group, judged as being at high risk of entering the commercial sex industry. Most enter the programme after completing sixth grade, living-in typically for three years. Previously they lived in the DEP compound, in simple bamboo houses similar to their homes, built by the girls themselves and their families, but they have now moved to similar structures in an old school compound with very limited facilities. There are currently 82 girls in the programme, its seventh and largest group. Some girls continue their formal schooling, while other attend vocational training courses according to their abilities and interests. They also undergo training in self-confidence and assertiveness, and some also enter the DEP leadership training programme.

It is difficult to assess the success of this programme as no formal evaluation has been carried out, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is successful in preventing the girls entering the commercial sex industry. In conjunction with the leadership programme it is obviously successful in empowering and developing the abilities of its most capable members, as judged by five members of the initial group who are now primarily responsible for running the entire programme at Mae Sai, including management of maintenance, administration, data collection and health.

While providing a live-in, intensive programme such as this is obviously expensive, it would appear to be the most appropriate project for extremely high-risk groups, and DEP’s close links with the Akka communities from which the girls come is obviously important, and something probably only an NGO could develop.

The second DEP programme to be highlighted here is a small but innovative one. With funding initially from IPEC as part of a broader media programme, then from UNICEF through its funding of DEP’s leadership training programme, a musical puppet show was adapted from a prize-winning script and performed by the girls from the leadership training programme. Called Phak Boong (the name of a Thai vegetable which according to folk-lore is much loved by turtles), it tells the tale of two turtles who decide when drought strikes their home to go off to look for a legendary inexhaustible and wonderful field of the vegetable. They encounter a variety of dangers along the way, including a vicious crocodile, and after meeting a much scarred-turtle who has literally lost his shell attempting to reach the El Dorado, eventually decide to return home. Designed for young primary-school pupils, it is obviously meant as an allegory to discourage the concept that the city and its bright lights and reported attractions are the place to find riches and happiness.

It was performed in 1996 in November and December in 15 schools in six amphoes in Chiang Rai. A short workshop was conducted before and after with the audience to draw out the lessons of the performance. Unfortunately, however, it would appear that after spending about 50,000 baht on training, equipment and tour expenses, funding has been exhausted. Illustrating a very common problem, an interesting and potentially very valuable idea has been developed, but only on a small scale and for a limited time period, and there appears now to be a high risk it will not continue.

Elements of Best Practice

Live-In Programme

* The programme meets an essential need in taking girls at high-risk out of a dangerous environment into a safe one during a period of high vulnerability.

* The close involvement of communities in the live-in facility to which they are entrusting their daughters, which both ensure the girls are allowed to attend and assists in making them feel “at home” in a culturally-appropriate context.

* The programme’s focus on building self-esteem and leadership skills, while less tangible than vocational training or educational certificates, may be more important in equipping the girls to face the dangers, pressures and temptations they are likely to encounter in the future. This may also produce young, relatively well-educated leaders for communities sorely in need of such a resource, ultimately helping many more individuals than those directly associated with the programme.

Phak Boong Play

* This small programme is one of the few to attempt to innovatively address underlying attitudes which promote child migration and thus often child labour.

* Rather than preaching or offering dry lessons, it wraps its message in a lively and entertaining package, likely to have some impact on young children and their attitudes, but for significant impact it is obvious this would need to be an ongoing programme, perhaps involving annual or bi-annual visits to a regular circuit of schools.

Case F: Rural Sri Sa Ket Women’s Association for Occupational Promotion and Development (RUSWOP)

Located in the poorest province in Thailand, in one of the poorest districts (Amphoe Ku Kan), which it is increasing obvious is being seriously affected by HIV/Aids, RUSWOP is a unique blend of NGO and private enterprise. The organisation was begun by Khun Somjan Intaroo, a former labour union activist, who after 17 years of working in Bangkok at a well-known tailoring shop, decided to return to her home province at the age of 37 years and began her own small business as a seamstress. As her skills were known to be of a very high level, soon local girls and women began to ask her to train them. The standard fee for a year’s training was 6,000 baht, but as Ms Somjan was not interested in doing this as a profit-making enterprise, she only charged 3,000 baht.

Starting from this small, private beginning, Ms Somjan over the past 15 years has developed RUSWOP as a unique training enterprise. Gathering donations from private Thai sources, from her former union, from Ubon Ratchatani Skill Development Unit, through the local Member of Parliament’s discretionary fund, from the MOLSW, and from the Community Development Department, she has constructed a training building and dormitories and offers free training to students in need. Her initial class was of 54 students, but she now has about 200 live-in trainees per year, and also offers classes for the Ubon Ratchatani Skill Development Unit in 10 villages for groups of up to 30 girls and women. She also attracted funding from IPEC to offer in-school and after-school training in Ku Khan and nearby Ban Po.

There are no age restrictions on training, but many trainees who live in and enjoy free training, accommodation and meals (they bring only rice from home) are aged under 15. As they gain in skills they can earn money from the garments they produce during training. Some trainees, often after only a few months, develop sufficient skills to become trainers, and continue working with Khun Somjan. The standard length of the basic live-in course is 45 days.

Although there have been significant donations from a variety of sources, the chief reason for the success of the project is that it is in large part self-sustaining, with advanced students and trainers producing garments such as factory uniforms and fashion garments for clients who rely on Khun Somjan’s experience and skills to produce a quality product. Trainees are also known for their skill and thus have a high chance of obtaining reasonably-paid employment on graduation. Some choose to migrate to Bangkok to work in factories, but others are homeworkers, obtaining sub-contracted work through Khun Somjan.

Because the skills of her graduates are well known, Khun Somjan is often asked to find or select employees to factories. For example, she has sent 158 workers to one factory near Bangkok, having first checked the conditions to ensure they are appropriate and safe.

Researchers spoke with several students at RUSWOP. Among them was Noo, a 13-year-old girl who finished sixth grade last year. She said she did not want to continue her studies as she was not good at schoolwork, but enjoyed doing the training, and hoped to continue working at RUSWOP as a trainer when she finished her course. Her family were farmers, but not, Khun Somjan said, poor, as her father had brought her to the training course on a motorcycle. She said after about two months, she had already made six shirts, earning 180 baht.

Nop is a 14-year-old farmers’ daughter now working as a trainer. She had been to Bangkok to work in a factory, but said she found the regulations, such as not being allowed to talk or move around during working hours, unbearable, and so returned to Ku Khan. She was remarkably confident for her age, and said she loved her training work and had no problems working with older students, but would also like to advance her own dressmaking skills to include more advanced designs, although the samples she produced for researchers certainly appeared highly professional.

Elements of Best Practice

* The highly-commercial, market-orientated nature of the skills taught, so graduates are well-equipped and in high demand.

* Utilisation of high-skilled trainees as trainers, allowing a special group of skills, i.e. those possessed by the founder, to be disseminated to a large number of individuals.

* Trainees are able to earn some income while they are training, which is more important in boosting their self-esteem and confidence, and ensuring their continuation of training, than in actual monetary terms.

Case G: Se-Ma Pattana Chewit Secondary Schools

The Ministry of Education’s Se-Ma Pattana Chewit (New Life) Programme. is concentrated in northern Thailand and focuses on preventing girls entering the commercial sex industry . In addition to a scholarship programme (aiding 4,000 girls) , it operates in three boarding schools offering Grade 7 to 9 education for 300 girls per year considered at particularly high risk of entering the commercial sex industry, in Lampang, Chiang Rai and Payao. In addition to room and board, these girls are provided with a monthly stipend for incidental expenses, and thus are financially no burden for their parents.

The schools during the three-year programme aim to offer not only the traditional academic curriculum, but also vocational training. After several years of operation, however, it was recognised that the school were failing to effectively meet the needs of these girls, particularly in the area of vocational training, and IPEC was requested to provide funding for equipment in conjunction with a broader project to aid theSe-Ma Pattana project. Initial examination by IPEC indicated, however, that simple provision of equipment would not solve the problems, so a consultant was employed, with IPEC funding and support, to fully review the schools’ activities with a particular focus on ensuring the girls were equipped with skills marketable in their home region.

With the brief of operating generally within the existing budget and resources, a restructuring plan was thus developed to attempt to ensure these schools were able to meet their pupils’ needs. This relied on two interacting elements: introduction of a counselling and guidance system and reorganisation of the curriculum to provide two streams, vocational and academic.

For the first element, a system was recommended such that each new pupil on entering the school was assessed to examine their attitudes; any psychological problems; and abilities, skills and education level. This was followed up by counselling and support as required. Each school has introduced a “My Future Room,” containing activities related to occupations and education and training opportunities, other information to encourage pupils to think about opportunities for their future and counsellors. They are encouraged to regularly use the room, to link their abilities and interests to suitable opportunities.

Under the reorganised curriculum, girls, on the basis of the initial and further assessments directed towards the curriculum stream most suited to their abilities and interests. While all pupils study basic subjects such as Thai, mathematics, science and English, those who are not academically-inclined are given opportunities to follow an occupation track, with study areas based on a survey of the province indicating areas in which there are good job opportunities, so for example in Lampang it was found there were opportunities in ceramic painting, a traditional craft of the area. This training attempts to utilise locally-available materials and skills.

For pupils following an academic path, the schools have been included in a broader scheme offering, for example, higher mathematics courses, through satellite transmission which enable teachers in central places to provide classes to far-flung areas. Teachers at the school provide tutoring in these subject.

This restructuring plan was developed in close consultation with the staff, involving several detailed sessions at each school. This appears to have been broadly effective in enlisting staff support for the plans, in which they feel themselves stakeholders. The general attitude among Ministry of Education officials has been broadly less supportive, as any innovative change tends to be regarded as a threat to existing structures, but at the school level the restructuring has broadly been achieved.

Elements of Best Practice

* A practical recognition of the need to operate broadly within existing resources and turn these to better advantage, rather than simply to request more funding and equipment.

* A focus on final outcomes, i.e. training or educating the girls to provide them with skills for appropriate employment, rather than on simply passing students or keeping them in a safe environment until the age of 15.

* The close involvement of staff in the development of the restructuring plan, so they feel it is “their” plan, rather than something being imposed upon them from above or outside.

* The recognition that the needs and interests of the girls must be taken into account and fostered through careful encouragement, rather than their choices being directed by outside “experts” such as teachers or counsellors.

Case H: Training on Research on Child Abuse and Neglect

The Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights is a Thai NGO which, as its title suggests, works broadly within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the past it has focused on rescue operations for girls forced into the commercial sex industry, but has recently switched focus to address other intolerable forms of child labour, such as children abused in small-factory environments, on rescue of victims of sexual abuse within families, and to work strongly in the area of advocacy.

Having identified a lack of research expertise in Thailand in the areas of child development and the effects of abusive circumstances on children, it recently conducted a small training project for Thai academics and postgraduate students on research methodology for investigating issues of, and treatment of victims of, child abuse, which was funded by UNICEF. The multidisciplinary session included paediatricians, psychologists, medical academics, research officials from the MOLSW and post-graduate students. Thai experts and two foreign experts, one with a primary interest in statistical issues and the other in treatment of abused children, conducted a one-week session with 25 participants. These were selected by the CPCR, with individual in-person, invitations being delivered to each, including a detailed explanation of the programme and its objectives. There was a conscious attempt to mix those primarily concerned with research, and those working in the area of treatment, so each group could learn from the other and hopefully develop long-term links.

Deverloping from the qualitative aspects of the training course, with funding from ECPAT, a follow-up programme is researching the treatment and rehabilitation of child victims of sexual abuse, including those abused within the commercial sex industry, with a view towards determining the effectiveness of current approaches and services, and ways in which they might be improved. Attempts are also being made towards developing a programme to utilise the training in quantitative methods provided, to find funding and staff to conduct a survey to establish the level of child sex abuse in Thailand, although this has yet to be finalised, due in large part to the very sensitive nature of the topic.

Elements of best practice

* Careful selection of training participants and personal invitations to encourage senior officials, who face huge demands on their time and may feel they are past needing training, to ensure the course reaches the participants mostly able and likely to utilise it.

* A multidisciplinary approach, encouraging a more broad-ranging approach to complex issues and promoting development of personal links which may encourage future cooperation.

* The involvement of very high-quality foreign lecturers, which adds to the prestige of such training and promotes the value of attending.

* The linking of the course to ongoing projects, to ensure skills are utilised quickly (and thus not forgotten or dismissed as irrelevant).

Case I: Thai Trade Unions Against Child Labour

This IPEC-funded training programme is being conducted by Chulalongkorn University’s Labour and Management Development Centre. The two-stage programme involves a one-week session with 50 participants nominated by two trade union confederations, with the training focusing on general child labour information and awareness raising. The second round consists of more intensive training for 15 selected participants from the first session, to equip them to act as trainers in child labour issues in their own working environments. Each session uses trainers from NGOs and government officials who work at the “hands-on” level dealing with child labour issues.

The model for this programme was Thai Trade Unions Against HIV/AIDS Project, conducted in 1993. The methodology was found to be effective as participants’ trade union connections enabled them to organise courses in the workplace environment, and being workers themselves, they were able to convey the desired message, with appropriate language and background information, probably far more effectively than it would be possible for an “outsider” such as an academic or social worker. Although the enterprises in which trade unionists work, being predominately mid and large-scale, are unlikely to employ child labour, the workers’ children may be at risk of becoming child labour, and they are likely to disseminate information received throughout their communities, where child labour in smaller enterprises may be an important issue.

Among the problems encountered or likely to be encountered by programmes structured in this way is the fragmented nature of trade union organisation. There are approximately eight major confederations of unions, and since drawing from all of these is not practical, diplomacy must be employed in selecting those to be involved. Additionally, while the conducting of such programmes is within the university’s regulated role of provide activities of benefit to Thai society, the university’s contribution is highly unlikely to extend beyond “in kind” support. Other outside funding is thus needed to develop an ongoing programme, and it is not at present clear from where this might be secured. So for example, no follow-up activities were conducted for the HIV/AIDS training, due to lack of funds, and that course, despite its apparent success and continuing need, was not repeated.

Elements of Best Practice

* Through its “train the trainers” approach, this programme has the potential to develop a strong core of grassroots individuals who can speak in appropriate language and terminology to workers.

* By utilising the influence and ties of trade unions to company managements, it can ensure time is made available to reach workers.

Case J: Child Garland Sellers in Chiang Mai

Tom is 11 years old, the youngest in a family of five children, four of whom still live at home with their mother, who has been separated from her partner for some years. He works in the market from around 3 p.m. until late, earning about 100 baht a day, the same amount of money as his mother earns as a dishwasher, although it costs them 60 baht per day in transport to get to the market. Tom has only completed Second Grade of school, although he says he will be going back to start Third Grade next year.

Jo is an eight-year-old garland seller who works each night in the market in Chiang Mai, in a food stall area frequented by both tourists and locals. A bright and outgoing girl who during the day studies in third grade at school, she says she makes between 200 and 300 baht profit per night, and keeps working until she has sold her allotment, usually about 11 p.m. She says she is not scared, as her brother (apparently a few years older) watches over her efforts from the corner of the market.

Children such as Tom and Jo present some difficult issues for child labour workers. According to government regulations, they should not be working, and their parents have in fact been offered 3,000 baht per year in social welfare assistance on the condition that they stop selling garlands. But this money is obviously not enough to compensate for their income. The authorities are concerned about the image they present in the market, and they risk at any time being rounded up by the police and social welfare authorities. There is also concern about them becoming mixed up with criminal elements at the market, and with street children who are frequently drug addicts or sellers of commercial sexual services. To the outside eye, it certainly appears to be an unsafe environment, and it is clear that working late, it is difficult for these children to continue their schooling effectively.

But the children themselves are very keen to continue working, are proud of their ability to assist their families, and no doubt do learn some skills, ranging from managing money to dealing with foreign tourists confidently, which may actuallly be of significant vocational use later in life. As their parents often work at the market, there would in many cases be problems of supervision were they to remain at home at night.

This case study indicates some of the dilemmas faced by workers in the child labour field. Many dedicated NGOs feel it would be better to allow these children to continue to work, offering support and assistance to ensure their safety and encourage their continuing in school. Generally, however, most government workers feel that this is impossible, due to their work being in breach of Thai law and international norms, andd concern about the image of Thailand their work presents to a large number of tourists.

Case K: Newspaper Coverage of Child Labour Issues

English-language papers in Thailand, while they have a relatively small circulation, are valuable in reaching key policy and decisionmakers in the government, private and NGO sectors, as these papers provide greater depth of coverage and analysis than Thai-language media, but due to limitations in language skills are generally only available to university graduates, and a high percentage of their readers have post-graduate education, often obtained overseas. The Thai-language media has a range of styles, but can be generally described as populist, and catering from a range of educational and interest levels from university graduates to readers who have only completed primary school.

Since no research has been carried out to examine in detail the level and nature of newspaper coverage of child labour issues, this report’s researchers carried out a scan of the mass-circulation, popular market Thai-language paper Thai Rath, as an example of the popular media (for 1994 and ’95), and of the two major English-language newspapers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation (from 1995 to August 1997). A list of the articles relevant to child labour is contained in Appendix IIC. To ensure manageability this scan focused primarily on child labour, as distinct from child prostitution issues, which receive more frequent, if often highly sensationalised, coverage.

In both groups of papers very few if any stories appear to have been developed at the initiative of journalists. They are primarily reports of conferences and seminars, of government action or policy initiatives, or of arrests or rescues of child labourers, with information in those cases often provided by NGOs which assisted in the enforcement action. This is typical of coverage of all social issues.

In Thai Rath, most of the stories on child labour from the survey period were on what is known as the “social affairs” page, deep within the broadsheet paper, often page 19. Stories on this page, often accompanied by conference-type photos of line-up of participants or presentations, are usually obviously taken from press releases, either from the government (usually departments reporting on their work) or NGOs. Over the two years studied there was an increase in the number of these stories printed, but this may have reflected an increase in activity on the issue, rather than increased media interest. Occasionally opinion pieces by columnists appeared during 1994 and 1995 , typically on page three or five. Child prostitution specifically rather than child labour, however, is likely to be the topic of these pieces, which may have broader themes, such as campaigning against perceived increases in materialism.

The rare exceptions of stories which received more prominent treatment are generally those which are particular graphic or which have striking photos. Thus one of the few child labour stories to make page one of Thai Rath was on May 4, 1994, (a few days after Labour Day, thus increasing news value) when a 13-year-old boy had his hand cut off in an accident on a building site. Included was a graphic photo of the boy with his arm still trapped in machinery, and a caption explaining that when a rescue foundation took the boy to a private hospital, it refused to accept him, and he had to be moved to a public hospital.

Although the two scans were not exactly parallel, it is clear that in general the English-language newspapers give far more coverage of child labour issues, in far more prominent positions, at far greater length, than in Thai Rath (as would be true of virtually all issues). The English-language papers are broadly sympathetic to the fight against child labour, and give it a prominent position in Page One stories and in their daily magazine stories, which frequently total 2,000 words or more. Many of these stories are summaries of conferences, and reflect a range of voices, from academics to working children. There are also a smaller number of lengthy comment piece generally run on comment pages. It is also obvious that over the study period the number of stories has increased, although this probably simply reflects the increasing activity on the issue.

Shorter stories, usually on page one or three, fall into three main groups. The most common are reports of government initiatives or release of official figures on child labour. A number of these reflect government concerns about the impact of child labour reports (and also reports of child prostitution) on Thailand’s international image. A small but perhaps influential group of these stories, sometimes found in business sections, are those identifying child labour concerns as a threat to Thailand’s trade. These often obviously originate from foreign news sources, but contain some local comment, often by government officials, which acknowledge the problem but indicate Thailand should not be punished as it is doing the best it can.

The second most common group of stories are of individual, usually extreme, cases of abuse of child workers, including physical abuse which has led to injury. Examination of these stories leads to the conclusion that in most cases the newspapers’ informants were NGOs involved in the cases, although in some examples it appears reports came directly from police sources. Very seldom, however, are the final outcomes of these cases, in terms of the fate of the children or outcomes of prosecution of employers, reported. The third main group of stories relates to releases of research data, usually either directly from universities or information released via NGOs.

Appendix IV: Extracts of Essential Child Labour Documents

Contents:

A. Current Legal Provisions on Child Labour

B. Proposed New Legal Provisions on Child Labour

C. Anti-Prostitution Legislation and Proposed Anti-Trafficking Legislation

D. The Child Labour Problem: Prevention and Solution Plan 1997-2001

E: Cabinet’s Decisions Concerning Policy and Measures To Solve Problems on the Exploitation of Child Labour (June 14, 1988)

F. Policy and Plan on the Prevention and Eradication of the Involvement of Children in the Commercial Sex Industry, 1996.

G. Minutes of the Meeting of the Child Labour Protection Committee, July 8, 1997.

Appendix IV (A)

Current Legal Provisions on Child Labour

Clause 20: An employer shall not employ a child under thirteen years of age as an employee

The first paragraph shall not apply to the employment of a child not less than twelve years of age as employee before the date of the effectiveness of this notification

Clause 21: An employer shall not employ a child from thirteen but less than fifteen years of age as an employee, except:

(1) The child is employed in work as prescribed by the Ministry of Interior and such work must not be harmful to the health and physical development of the child.

(2) The child is employed for works other than those which the Ministry of Interior prescribes under (1). After submitting the application to the labour inspector according to the form prescribed by the Director-General and the permission has been obtained from the labour inspector.

For the permission under (2), the labour inspector shall examine that the work is not harmful to the health and physical development, mentality of the child, not against moral principles, and is not prohibited by this Notification, the labour inspector thus grants the permission for the employer to employ the child as an employee. In such case, the labour inspector may also stipulate conditions of employment.

Clause 22: In employment of a child, the child must present official documentation indicating date of birth. In the case that the child is unable to indicate the date of birth, the parents or guardian shall certify the correct date of birth before presenting the official documents without delay.

The employer shall keep the evidence under paragraph one ready for inspection by the labour inspector during working time.

The employer with an employed child shall present the report of child employment in a year to the labour inspector according to the form prescribed by the Director-General within the month of January the following year.

Clause 22 bis: If it appears to the labour inspector that:

(1) The employer violates or fails to comply with the written warning issued by the labour inspector with regard to the conditions of employment stipulated in the permission under paragraph two of Clause 21 or

(2) The nature and conditions of work has caused harm to health and physical development, mentality of the child or is against moral principles. the labour inspector has the power to revoke the permission granted for the employment of a child.

Clause 23: An employer shall specify the daily normal working hours for an employee from the age of thirteen years but not less than eighteen years not more than eight hours per day.

An employer shall not require an employee from the age of thirteen but less than fifteen years to work in the day or time or the type of work as follows:

(1) work in holidays

(2) Work in overtime

(3) Work during 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except the child works as a performer in film, theatre or other similar acts, but during such period, an appropriate rest period shall be provided.

Clause 24: An employer shall not require an employee from the age of thirteen years but less than eighteen years to do work as may be prescribed by the Ministry of Interior.

Clause 25: In the case that an employer, an employed child, the parents or the guardian of an employed child has been paid or accepted money or any other benefit in advance before the employment, at the time of employment or before each period of payment for the employment of the child, it shall not be deemed to be the payment or acceptance of wages for the employed child and the employer shall not set-off such money or other benefits against wages which are payable at the specified time.

Appendix IV (B)

Proposed New Legal Provisions on Child Labour

(This is the authors’ translation of the bill approved by the Senate, incorporating its amendments to that passed by the House of Representatives. Further amendments are possible as the House is currently re-considering the Senate version.)

Clause 20: An employer shall not employ a child under fifteen years of age as an employee

Clause 42: The employer shall not employ an employee aged under eighteen years to perform any of the follow jobs:

(1) Moulding, blowing, plastering, sheeting metals

(2) Casting of metals

(3) Work that involves excessive heat, cold, vibration, sound and light which can be hazardous as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

(4) Work involving hazardous chemical substances as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

(5) Work involving dangerous micro-organisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and others as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

(6) Work involving toxic substances, explosives, inflammables, except work in gas stations, as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

(7) Driving or operating forklifts or cranes

(8) Work involving operating electrical or motorised chainsaws

(9) Work performed underground, under-water, in tunnels or mountain tunnels

(10) Work with radio-active substances as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

(11) Cleaning using engines or machines

(12) Work on scaffolding more than ten metres above the ground, as in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

(13) Other work as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Clause 43: Where a child under the age of 18 is employed, the employer must:

(1) Notify the Inspector within 15 days of the child starting work.

(2) Record the child’s working conditions, and, if there is a change in these, with the record to be kept in the employer’s office.

(3) If the employment of the child is terminated must inform the Inspector within seven days. (All of these records are to be maintained in a form to be specified by the Director General.)

Clause 44: An child under the age of 18 shall not work more than eight hours per day and after four hours shall have a period of rest. Within the two blocks of four hours, there should also be shorter breaks.

Clause 48 Employers are prohibited from employing children under 18 in the following work groups

(1) Abattoirs

(2) Gambling houses

(3) Dance halls

(4) Places where food, alcoholic beverages, tea, and other drinkers are sold and served by service girls, with accommodation, or with massage services for customers.

(5) Other places as identified in the Notification of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Appendix IV (C)

THE PROSTITUTION PREVENTION AND SUPPRESSION ACT B.E. 2539

His Majesty King Bhumibol Aduladej Given on 14 October B.E. 2539 the fifty first year of the present reign

His Majesty King Bhumibol Aduladej issues the royal order that the following royal decree shall be announced;

Section 1 This Act shall be called “Measures in Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children Act B.E. 2539”

Section 2 This Act shall come into force sixty days from the date of its publication in the Royal Gazette.

Section 3 The Prostitution Suppression Act B.E. 2503 shall be repealed.

Section 4 In this Act:

“Prostitution” means the acceptance of sexual intercourse, the acceptance of any other act, or the commission of any act for sexual gratification of another person in a promiscuous manner, in order to gain financial or other benefit, no matter whether the person who accepts such act and the person who commits such act are of the same or opposite sex;

“Place for Prostitution” means the place or premises arranged for prostitution or allowed to be used for prostitution, and it shall include the place or premises used for making contact or procuring another person for prostitution.

“Primary Shelter” means a place established, according to this Act, by the Government, other foundations, associations or institutes for the temporary acceptance of the person who receives protection and vocational development in order to consider the appropriate measure for protection and vocational development for each person.

“Protection and Vocational Development Place” means a place, established according to this Act, by the Government, other foundations, associations or institutes for welfare protection and vocational development of the person who receives protection and vocational development.

“Protection and Vocational Development” means mental rehabilitation, medial treatment, vocational skill training and development, and other development including improvement of the quality of life.

“Committee” means the Committee for the Protection and Vocational Development or the Provincial Committee for the Protection and Vocational Development as the case may be.

“Official” means the person to whom the Minister has designated the authority to perform the functions according to this Act.

“Director General” means the Director General of the Department of Public Welfare “Minister” means the Minister in charge of controlling the execution of this Act.

Section 5 Whoever, for the purpose of prostitution, approaches, solicits, introduces himself or herself to, follows, or importunes another person on a street, in a public place, or any other place, and such act overtly or shamelessly committed or causes nuisance to the public, shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one thousand baht.

Section 6 Whoever gathers with another person in the place for prostitution in order to benefit from the prostitution activity of that person or another person shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one month, or a fine not exceeding one thousand baht, or both.

Section 7 Whoever advertises or accepts to advertise, solicits or introduces with a document or printed material, or distributes information, by any other means to the public in an obvious manner to solicit or contact for the purpose of prostitution of that person or any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to two years, or a fine ten thousand to forty thousand baht, or both.

Section 8 Whoever, for sexual gratification of that person or of the third person, commits sexual intercourse or any other act against a person who is over fifteen years but not yet over eighteen years of age, with or without his or her consent, in the place for prostitution, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of twenty thousand to sixty thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph is committed against a child not over fifteen years of age, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of two to six years and a fine of forty thousand to one hundred and twenty thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph is committed against the marriage partner of the offender, and is not committed for sexual gratification of the third person, the offender is not guilty.

Section 9 Whoever procures, seduces or traffics the other person to commit the act of prostitution, even with consent of the other person, no matter whether the commission of various acts which constitute the offence are committed inside or outside the territory of the Kingdom, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to ten years and a fine of twenty thousand to two hundred thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph is against a person who is over fifteen years but not yet over eighteen years of age, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of five to fifteen years and a fine of one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph is against a child not over fifteen years of age, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of ten to twenty years and a fine of two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first, second or third paragraph is perpetuated by using deceitful means, threat, physical assault, immoral influence, or mental coercion by any other means, the offender shall be punished with punishment one-third heavier than the punishment accordingly specified in the first, second or third paragraph.

Whoever, with intention to arrange for an act of prostitution, knowingly accepts the person who was procured, deceived or trafficked to commit prostitution activity as specified in the first second, third or fourth paragraph, or aids or abets in the commission of the offence, shall be punished with the punishment accordingly specified in the first, second, third or fourth paragraph as the case may be.

Section 10 Whoever is the father, mother or guardian of a person not yet over eighteen years of age, with the knowledge that there is the commission of the offence as specified in the second, third or fourth paragraph of Section 9 against the person within his or her guardianship, colludes with another offender in the commission of that offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of four to twenty years, and a fine of eighty thousand to four hundred thousand baht.

Section 11 Whoever is the owner, supervisor, or manager of a prostitution business or a place for prostitution, or controller of a prostitute in the place of prostitution, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years and a fine of sixty thousand to three hundred thousand baht.

If the prostitution business or place for prostitution as specified in the first paragraph has a person not yet over eighteen years of age performing the act of prostitution in such place, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of five to fifteen years, and a fine of one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand baht.

If a prostitution business or place for prostitution as specified in the first paragraph has a child not yet over fifteen years of age performing the act of prostitution in such a place, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of ten to twenty years, and a fine of two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand baht.

Section 12 Whoever detains or confines the other person, commits any other act that deprives the liberty of the other person, assault the other person, or threatens with any other means to use physical force to commit a violent act against the other person, in order to force the other person to perform the prostitution activity, shall be punished with imprisonment of ten to twenty years, and a fine of two hundred to four hundred thousand baht.

If the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph causes to the other person

(1) serious bodily injury, the offender shall be punished with life imprisonment

(2) death, the offender shall be punished with the death penalty or life imprisonment

Whoever aids or abets in the commission of the offence as specified in the first or second paragraph shall be punished with the punishment as specified in the first or second paragraph as the case may be.

If the perpetrator, aider or abettor to the commission of the offence as specified in the first paragraph is an administrative official, police official, government official or worker in the primary shelter or in the protection and vocational development place according to this act, such perpetrator, aider or abettor shall be punished with imprisonment of fifteen to twenty years and a fine of three hundred thousand to four hundred thousand baht.

Section 13 If the father, mother or guardian of the person who commits the offence as specified under Section 6, Section 7 or Section 8, colludes for the commission of an act of prostitution by the person in his or her guardianship, the Committee for the Protection and Vocational Development can petition the prosecutor to file an application to the court in order to revoke the guardianship of the father, mother or guardian, and to appoint another guardian to replace the father, mother or former guardian.

In the case that the court is to appoint a new guardian according to the first paragraph and the court adjudicates that no suitable person may be appointed as the guardian of the offender, the court may appoint the director of the primary shelter or protection and development place, in which jurisdiction the offender resides, to be the new guardian of the offender.

The Guardian Appointment provisions in the Civil and Commercial Code shall govern and apply mutatis mutandis to guardian appointments under this Section.

Sections 15-31

Cover the structure and functions of the Committee for the Protection and Vocational Development and the Provincial Committees for the Protection and Vocational Development and the primary shelter.

Section 32 In the case that the offender or defendant who has committed the offence as specified in Section 5 and 6, must be detained during the investigation or inquiry by the inquiry official, or during the trial of the court, the offender or defendant can be detained according to the criminal procedure law of the Magistrate Court. The offender or defendants, or the Public Welfare Department, may be asked to look after such offender or defendant according to the regulation laid down by the C.P.V.

Section 33 In case that the person who commits the offence according to Section 5, or Section 6, is not yet over eighteen years of age, and is not charged or is not under trial in another case which has the penalty of imprisonment or is not convicted to be imprisoned, the inquiry official, after the settlement of the case, shall notify the Public Welfare Department in order to send that person into the care of the primary shelter which has jurisdiction.

According to the first paragraph, if the person is over eighteen years of age and that person wishes to receive the protection and vocational development in the protection and vocational development place, the inquiry official shall notify the Public Welfare Department in order to send that person into the care of the primary shelter which has jurisdiction.

Section 34 In case that the offender, who commits the offence as specified in Section 5, Section 6 or Section 7, is not yet over eighteen years of age, and the court, after having examined the biography, behaviour, intelligence, education, physical health, mental health, profession and environment of the offender, determines the offender should not be punished but should receive protection and vocational development instead, the Public Welfare Department shall receive the offender for sending to the primary shelter which has jurisdiction within fifteen days of the date the court renders the judgment.

In case that such offender in the first paragraph is over eighteen years of age and if that offender wants to receive the protection and vocational development in the protection and vocational development place and it is appropriate in the opinion of the court, the Public Welfare Department shall receive the offender for sending to the primary shelter which has jurisdiction within fifteen days of the date the court renders judgment.

In case that the court has convicted the offender in the first paragraph and in the opinion of the court the offender should also receive the protection and vocational development, the Public Welfare Department shall receive the offender for sending to the primary shelter which has jurisdiction within fifteen days of the date the court renders the judgment. The offender shall be under the control of the primary shelter and the protection and vocational development place.

The duration of time the offender was detained shall not be counted as part of the length of time the offender is to be under the control of the primary shelter and the protection and vocational development place.

The rules and procedures in receiving the offender from the court for sending to the primary shelter which has jurisdiction shall be stipulated in the regulations issued by the Director General and approved by the C.P.V.

Section 35 The primary shelter shall consider the personality, educational background, cause of committing the offence, and performance in the aptitude test of the person sent, in accordance with Section 32 and Section 33, to the primary shelter. After such consideration, the primary shelter shall send such person to the appropriate protection and vocational development place within the time frame specified in the regulation laid by the C.P.V., but this period shall not exceed six months from the date of receiving such a person.

Section 36 The rules and procedures for sending the person into the case of the primary shelter in accordance with Section 33 and Section 34, and in sending the person to receive protection and vocational development in the protection and vocational development place in accordance with Section 35, shall conform with the regulations laid down by the C.P.V.

Section 37 The person who is in the protection and vocational development programme shall stay and receive the protection and vocational development in accordance with the regulations laid down by the C.P.V. for a period not exceeding two years from the date the protection and vocational development place receives such person.

Section 38 If any person escapes from the primary shelter or protection and vocational development place during the time that person is under the care of the primary shelter or under the protection of the protection and vocational development place, the official of the primary shelter or the protection and vocational development place has the authority and duty to pursue such person in order to bring such person back to the primary shelter or to the protection and vocational development place, as the case may be. In such pursuit, the primary shelter or the protection and vocational development place may request assistance from the police.

When any person has completed the full term of protection and vocational development, the official of the primary shelter or the protection and vocational development place shall send such person back to the residence of that person, unless in the opinion of the C.P.V. it should be handled otherwise.

Section 39 The official shall have authority and duties as follows

(1) To enter into the entertainment place according to the law on entertainment places, both day and night, for inspection and monitoring the commission of the offences under this Act.

(2) To bring the victim, who is lured or forced into prostitution and consents to receive the protection and vocational development, to the inquiry official to investigate and find the offender for further legal action. The provision of Section 33 shall be applied mutatis mutandis to the sending of the prostitute into the care of the primary shelter.

Section 40 Every member of the Committee, Sub-Committee and official according to this Act, shall be the official in the meaning of the Penal Code.

Section 41 Whoever resists or refuses to cooperate with the official in performing the function in accordance with Section 39, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one month, or a fine not exceeding one thousand baht, or both.

Section 42 During the time when the Office of the C.P.V. has not been established, the Public Welfare Department shall have the authorities and duties in accordance with Section 25.

Section 43 The rehabilitation place established in accordance with the Prostitution Suppression Act B.E. 2503 shall be the protection and vocational development places according to this Act.

Any person who is still being rehabilitated under the rehabilitation programme in accordance with the Prostitution Suppression Act B.E. 2503 on the date this Act comes into force shall continue to receive the protection and vocational development until the end of the term set by the Director General.

Section 44 All the announcements, regulations, rules or orders issued in accordance with the Prostitution Suppression Act B.E. 2503 shall continue to be in force as long as they are not in conflict with the Act and until there are announcements, regulations, rules or orders issued under this Act.

Section 45 The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Ministry shall have duty to control the execution of this Act. The Minister shall have authority to appoint the official, and to issue ministerial regulations and announcements for the performance of the works specified in this Act.

When the ministerial regulations and announcements are published in the Royal Gazette, they shall come into force.

Appendix IV (D)

The Child Labour Problem: Prevention and Solution Plan (1997-2001)

Part 1: Analysis of the Child Labour Problem

The employment of child labour is not the problem, but there are serious problems in the illegal and unfair employment of child labour.

Child labour problems in Thailand can be divided into two groups:

(i) Unfair and illegal child labour being found as follows:

* Children under the age of 13 labouring. They have many problems in terms of readiness and adjustment, which may lead to the problem of employers using violence against them.

* Children being forced to work beyond permitted periods, including being denied holidays, working overtime and working all day and all night.

* Low wages, not being paid and being cheated of their wages

* Lack of appropriate welfare provisions, including crowded and unsanitary living space, low quality food, no recreation and low skill development.

* Dangerous working conditions, such as odours of oil, thinner and paint, fermented odours, chemicals, dust, thread residues, metallic particles, flour dust, heat, extreme cold and humidity. Some children are ordered to carry weights greater than the legal limits, or to operate crushing, cutting or pumping machines which could easily cause them harm when they are exhausted.

(ii) Violation of children’s basic rights found are as follows:

* Being separated from their parents at an early age, resulting in adjustment and mental health problems and the children being deprived of appropriate development opportunities.

* Being forbidden with contact their families and the disappearance of some children.

* Being cruelly-treated, physically and mentally harmed or sexually harassed by employers, brokers or staff of job placement agencies.

* Lack of social mechanisms and institutions to protect the rights of child labour.

Part 2: The Implementation of Prevention and Solution Activities for Child Labour Problems

* The government has a clear policy to prevent and solve child labour problems.

* There were 27 measures which have been used as the guiding principles for concerned government agencies, then in 1992 the Ministry of the Interior refined the 27 measures to 16, making methods of implementation clearer.

* The main limitation of past policy and measures is the lack of serious implementation as well as the dissolution of the Child Labour Protection Committee when the government was reshuffled.

* There was no clear policy or major implementation activities to prevent child labour problems.

* There is no effective cooperation between the government and private organisations through workers’ organisations and employers.

* Although higher technology has been introduced into Thai production, due to high levels of world competition small enterprises which are not formalised will employ children, thus the employment of child labour is needed. It if necessary to find the mechanism for implementation to prevent and solve child labour problems by having the national plan for operation.

Part 3: Directions for the Development for Child Labour Problem Prevention and Solution (The objectives and goal of this plan)

* Summarise the State Policy which is stated in the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, Articles 19-62.

* Government policy presented to the parliament concerning women, children and the disadvantaged.

* The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s policy.

*The objectives of the Child Labour Problem Prevention and Solution Plan:

1. on the prevention side

2. On the protection side

3. On the development of mechanisms for monitoring and policy implementation.

Goals:

1. Goals concerning prevention of child labour problems:

* That there be no illegal or unfairly-treated child labour

* Child labour standards must be in line with international standards, that is not less than 15 years of age.

2. Goals Concerning the Protection of Child Labour

* All child labour are to be protected without sexual or racial discrimination

* All child labour should enjoy basic rights according to the labour laws and the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child.

3. Goals concerning development of guiding principles and policy implementation on child labour

* The Policy and Development Plan for Prevention and Solution of Child Labour Problems must be actively implemented.

* Concerned agencies in both the government and non-government sector must have real working capacity to prevent and eliminate child labour problems.

Target groups:

1. Groups of illegal child labour, including children who are employed under the age of 13, cruelly-treated, exploited or seriously abused in terms of human rights.

2. Legal child labour groups. These are children who need to work to earn income, and who are properly treated by employers, with working conditions acceptable to Thai society.

Major Strategies for Child Labour Problem Prevention and Solution

1. Prevention of Child Labour Problems

* Extending educational opportunities

* Amending labour laws to forbid child labour under 15 years of age

2. Protection of Child Labour

* Creation of incentives for employers to invest in taking care of and developing child labour through tax reductions.

* Increasing both the number and the quality of labour inspectors.

* Mobilising related agencies in both the public and private sectors to promote common action in attempts to seriously deal with child labour problems, including financial support for such actions.

* Creating a network for monitoring of child labour and an inspection system from the children’s homes to their workplaces.

Appendix V: List of Individuals Consulted in the Preparation of This Report

Preparation of this report involved collecting information, advice and ideas from many individuals and organisations. It is unfortunately impossible to acknowledge all of these people, many of whom were participants in workshops, seminars and other meetings attended by the research team, but the team wishes to offer its sincere thanks to all of these participants. It also wishes to offer sincere thanks to all who assisted in providing information during three study tours conducted by researchers to Sri Sa Ket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.

Particular acknowledgement is given to the participants in the ILO/IPEC Partners’ Meeting held in Bangkok in August 1997, and to the participants at the Senior-Level Consultative Meeting held in September 1997 in Bangkok to consider a draft of this report. A list of both of these groups is given below.

The following individuals were also consulted in meetings specially arranged for the purpose by the research team:

Mr. Anthorn Chantauimol, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education

Associate Professor Lae Eilokvidsyarat, Labour and Management Development Centre, Chulalongkorn University.

Ms. Vibool Jampangoon, Labour Inspector, Woman and Child Labour Protection Division, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

Mr. Payuth Kanthpadith, Vice President, Wage Committee, Thai Trade Union Congress Wage Committee.

Mr. Anders Knudsen, Programme Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Bangkok.

Mr. Sanphasit Koompraphant, Director, The Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights.

Ms. Mallika Kumnavatana, Labour Academic Adviser, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Mr. Anantachai Kunanantakul, President, Advisers to the Deputy Minister of Commerce; President, Employers Confederation of Thailand (ECOT), Vice President, Associate Judge, Central Juvenile and Family Court.

Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkhorn University

Ms. Rujira Nopjaroonsri, Director of Woman and Labour Division, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Mr .Twisuk Punpeng, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health

Ms. Srisawang Poawongphat, Foundation for Children’s Development

Mrs. Permphoon Prommaphan, Committee for Social Development, Samut Prakan Province.

Ms. Vichitra Prompunthum, Director of Child Labour Information Centre (Formerly Deputy Director-General, Department of Labour and Social Welfare)

Mr. Sawai Prammanee, Chairman, National Labour Development Advisory Board

Mr. Prasong Ramanand, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

Ms. Mukda Sunkool, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Area Office, Bangkok.

Dr. Sisak Tharani, President of the National Council for Child and Youth Development.

Ms. Galaya Thaiwong, Chief of Women and Child Labour Protection Division, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Mr. Manop Wongthip, Chief of the Secretariat of the National Steering Committee on Child Labour, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

At the Klong San Unit for Receiving Complains About Child Labour and Prostitution

Mr. Niboon Jampangan

Miss Puangthong Manathon

Miss Nantaya Phumali

Miss Galaya Thaiwong

Miss Sunee Wutikitti

IPEC Partners’ Meeting, Mercure Hotel, August 19997

Ms. Ratjai Atjayutpokin, Prouction of Video on Child Labour Working in Thailand, Child Labour Networking in Asia. *

Dr. Pattamaporn Busapathumrong, Training and Advice Centre for Child Labour Projects, Thammasart University.

Mr. Suvajchai Chatchoomsai, Employers’ Confederation of Thailand, (ECOT).

Mr. Atorn Chandavimol, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Mrs. Kesorn Chanya, Alien Child Working Group.

Ms. Pornsiri Chatiyanond, ILO/IPEC

Dr. Wasana Im Em, Mahidol University.

Mr. Siwu Liu, Deputy Director, ILO Area Office.

Mr. Somsak Niamsuwan, Occupational Development for Child Labour in Gas Station Project.

Assistant Professor Narumol Nirathon, Training and Advice Centre for Child Labour Projects, Thammasart University.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Krit Pedprasert, Awareness-raising and Rescue of Children for Policemen Project, Provincial Police Region 7, Nakhorn Pathom.

Mrs. Terranart Piyawin, Child Labour Survey Project (Pilot Project in Kanchanaburi and Ubonratchatanii), Labour and Social Welfare Studies Bureau, MOLSW.

Mrs. Permpool Promaphan, Child Labour Potential Development Project, Samut Prakhan Province.

Ms. Nithima Rojanawong, Child Labour Potential Enhancement Project, Promotion and Development of Child and Female Youth Centre, Roi Et Province.

Ms. Taneeya Runcharoen, Child Labour Networking in Asia.*

Mr. Chatchai Rungaroon, Protecting Child Workers in the Garment Manufacturing Industries, Friends of Child Group, Chiang Mai.

Ms. Chaleerat Sangsuwon, Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre, Bangkok.

Ms. Sirikan Santithawat, Child Labour Promotion and Development in Small Scale Industry Project, Women and Child Labour Division, Department of Social and Labour Protection.

Mrs. Sudarat Seerewat, Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation, (FACE).

Mrs. Rotchana Sintee, Educational and Vocational Training Standard Criterion Development for Female Risk at Youth Area Project, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Ms. Chongchareon Sornkaew, ILO/IPEC.

Dr. Kusol Soonthorndhada, Mahidol University.

Mrs. Srisak Thai Arry, National Council for Child and Youth Development.

Ms. Mukda SunKool, United Nations.

Ms. Galaya Thaiwong, Child Inspector Training Project, Women and Child Labour Division, Department of Social and Labour Protection.

Ms. Pranee Thatichan, Protection and Development of Female Youth Labour, Daughters’ Education Programme, Chiang Rai Province.

Mr. Guy Thijs, Sub-regional coordinator, ILO/IPEC, Southeast Asia.

Mr. Pravit Thomyavit, Chief, Agriculture and Cooperative Office, Nong Khai Province.

Mr. Surat Thongkham, Friends of Children Group, Khon Kaen.*

Police Lieutenant Colonel Tirawat Tongniam, Awareness-raising and Rescue of Children for Policemen Project, Provincial Police Region 7, Nakhorn Pathom.

Mr. Hans van de Glind, ILO/IPEC.

Dr. Chakrapand Wongburanavart, Thai Women of Tomorrow, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University.

Mr. Manop Wongthip, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

* Organisations so identified are not formally registered under Thai law.

Senior Level Consultative Meeting Participants

Siam City Hotel, August 1997

Discussants: Dr. Chantana Banpasirichot

Mr. Nikom Chantharavithum, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Economic and Social Affairs

Ms. Mallika Kumnavatana, Labour Academic Adviser, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Mr. Guy Thijs, ILO.

Ms. Rumpha Anantakul, Mekong Region Law Centre.

Ms. Panadda Boonphala, ILO/Geneva.

Ms. Kritayavan Boonto, UNICEF.

Mr. Bhairote Brohmsarn, Department of Local Administration.

Mr. Somchai Bualek, Office of the National Education Commission.

Mr. Somchai Charoensook, National Youth Bureau.

Mr. Suvajchai Chatchoomsai, ECOT.

Ms. Pornsiri Chatiyanonda, ILO/IPEC.

Ms. Arunee Chitpatima, Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Ms. Claudia Coerngearps, ILO.

Dr. E.B. Doberstyn, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ms. Sirikul Isaranurak, Mahidol University.

Mr. Komson Kamnoo, Representative of Ms. Laddawan Wongsriwong, M.P.

Police Major General Mongkhol Kamolbutra, Provincial Police Region Seven.

Ms. Khanitha Kamolrat, Women, Child and Youth Coordination, National Youth Bureau.

Ms. Vanida Kapilakanchana, Social Works Division, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Ms. Kasorn Kertla, Labour Welfare Division.

Mr Anders Knudsen, International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Ms. Maliwan Kullavantijaya, Division of Youth Coordination, National Youth Bureau.

Ms. Rungraeng Lertkhoopinij, Child Rights, ASIANET.

Mr. Suwat Manin, Department of Agricultural Extension.

Ms. Manida Nabklang, End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourisn (ECPAT).

Mr. Kamjorn Nakchuen, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

Ms. Narumol Nirathorn, Thammasat University.

Ms. Ruchira Nobcharoonsri, Women and Child Labour Division.

Ms. Pensri Phijaisanit, Mahidol University.

Ms. Vichit Ravivong, Academic.

Ms. Sudarat Sereewat, Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation, (FACE).

Ms. Chongcharoen Sornkaew, ILO/IPEC.

Ms. Chalida Srusahaburi, ILO.

Ms. Luksamee Suebsang, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mc Mukda Sunkul, ILO.

Ms. Sirikan Suntithavaj, Women and Child Labour Division.

Senator Keerana Sumawong

Ms. Evelyne Sundaravej, UNIFEM.

Ms. Prathueng Suecharoen, Social Works Division, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA).

Ms. Savitri Suwansathit, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Ms. Phen Suwannarat, Mekong Region Law Centre.

Ms. Srisak Thaiaree, Council of Child and Youth Development.

Mr. Anurath Thaithong, Department of Local Administration.

Ms. Usa Teeramathee, Department of Skill Development.

Ms. Saowalak T-palakul, Department of Community Development, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Ms. Srichantr Uthayopas, Department of Industry.

Mr. Hans Van de Glinds, ILO/IPEC

Mr. Trakul Winitnaiyapak, Office of the Attorney General

Chiang Mai Consultative Meeting Participants

Associate Professor Phikul Khowsuwan, Project Secretary, Thai Women of Tomorrow, Chiang Mai University.

Captain Charan Kumyodying, Labour Academic, Office of Welfare and Labour Protection.

Ms. Nattaya Kijbunchoo, Thai Women of Tomorrow

Ms. Raweewan Naksawad, Chief, Labour Protection Sub-division, Office of Welfare and Labour Protection, Chiang Mai.

Mr. Pongphan Phanasantikul, Friend of Hill Tribe Youth Centre, Chiang Mai.

Dr. Sidthinat Prabudhanitisarn, Thai Women of Tomorrow, Chiang Mai, University.

Mr. Chatchai Rungarun, Friend of Children Group, Bannangkong School, Chiang Mai Province.

Mr. Chaowalit Tantisak, Chief, Welfare and Labour Protection Office, Chiang Mai.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

ASEAN Association of South East Asian Nations

CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

CLIC Child Labour Information Centre

CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child

DLPW Department of Labour Protection and Welfare

ECOT Employers’ Confederation of Thailand

ECPAT End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism

FACE Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation

ILO International Labour Organisation

IMF International Monetary Fund

IPEC International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour

GDP Gross Domestic Product

MOLSW Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

NCLPC National Child Labour Protection Committee

NCWA National Commission on Women’s Affairs

NESDB National Economic and Social Development Board

NGO Non-government organisation

NSCOCL National Steering Committee on Child Labour

NSO National Statistical Office

NYB National Youth Bureau

IOM International Organization for Migration

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund

WTO World Trade Organisation

(Monetary values in this report are given in either United States dollars or Thai baht. During most of the period covered by this report $US1 was approximately equivalent to 25 baht, although this has recently altered to approximately 45 baht to $US1.)

One comment

  • November 9, 2013 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    A very interesting and informative article. I spent some time in Thailand in 2001 and visited a couple of hill tribes and schools. It’s heartbreaking to think that many of the children I met would probably have not had the opportunity to continue their education as a result of poverty, instead possibly sold as child labour. In many cases within the sex industry. That was exactly what I pondered when in Bangkok and witnessed the growing sex industry first hand.
    I feel very passionate about points made in this article and only wish I had the time to comment further. Maybe I will come back to it!

    Regards
    Linda

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *