ECPAT International chooses Pattaya as site to research child migration

Friday, 13 September 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 37 By  Warunya Thongrod

ECPAT International has chosen Pattaya as a site for research into migration of children who often end up homeless or exploited.

Mark Capaldi, head researcher for the child-welfare organization, listened to stories and problems associated with child migration at a city hall session sponsored by the Pattaya Social Development Office.

Capaldi currently is doing research for the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University on the vulnerabilities of child migrants in Thailand. His research covers children’s freedom in making decisions, acting independently, and their potential to battle against problems.

Mark Capaldi (center), chief of research and policy for ECPAT International, listens to stories and problems associated with child migration.Mark Capaldi (center), chief of research and policy for ECPAT International, listens to stories and problems associated with child migration.

Once final, the research will be used in presenting policies and operations to protect children and reduce risks of unsafe migration. Pattaya was chosen as a research site not only because of the prevalence of the problem here, but the city’s established network of public- and private-sector welfare agencies.

“The research has revealed that children migrating freely within Thailand are from three nationalities: Thai, Burmese, Cambodian,” Capaldi said. “There are two main reasons for migration, consisting of looking for jobs, since their birthplace is poor, and some leave their home due to child abuse.”

“The moment they leave home, they are thrown into a harsh circumstance since they are homeless and sleep on the roadside. Therefore, they are at risk of being used for other’s benefits, such as hard labor with little compensation and tricked into prostitution,” he continued.

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