Four welfare groups want to close Cambodian street kids’ revolving door

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Four local social welfare organizations want to stop the revolving door that sees Cambodian street children deported back home return to Pattaya only weeks later.

At a March 14 Pattaya City Hall meeting, representatives from the Mercy Center and Ban Sanrak shelters, Nongprue Community Development Office and Pattaya Social Welfare Department said they want to act as intermediaries after Cambodian kids are arrested for begging, hawking goods, prostitution or vagrancy.

Four local social welfare organizations are trying to find a way to help young Cambodian children like these. Four local social welfare organizations are trying to find a way to help young Cambodian children like these.

City social welfare director Pannee Limcharoen said the plan is to work with Immigration Police to deliver the children back to areas in Cambodia where they will be cared for and happy. Otherwise, she said, they will simply continue to return to Thailand.

The welfare groups want to inspect the Cambodian shelters where deportees usually are taken to ensure they are safe and secure. For example, Panee said, shelters for young children should not have residents over age 12.

The meeting was only the first of many that will be required to set up such a system, but the four representatives attending plan to invite more welfare agencies to join their cause and get police and immigration officials to work with them.