Migrant children need education, legal status – Mahidol researcher

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Mahidol University researcher Dr. Mark P. Capaldi is urging the government to improve education and legal migration measures for Southeast Asian children in Thailand illegally.
Mahidol University researcher Dr. Mark P. Capaldi is urging the government to improve education and legal migration measures for Southeast Asian children in Thailand illegally.

A Mahidol University researcher urged the government to improve education and legal migration measures for almost a half-million Southeast Asian children in Thailand illegally.

Presenting the results of research done by for the university’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies on International Children’s Rights Day Nov. 20, Mark P. Capaldi said migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have brought nearly 500,000 children into Thailand. Most of them, he said, are here illegally, with no travel documents or citizen rights and largely receive no education.

Migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have brought nearly 500,000 children into Thailand.
Migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have brought nearly 500,000 children into Thailand.

Therefore, Capaldi said, the children are at risk for exploitation, abuse and human trafficking. Although Thailand has cracked down on traffickers, he said, the at-risk children still have difficulties in accessing their rights under the law.

Capaldi said his research of teenage migrant workers in Pattaya and around Thailand indicated most are happy with their living situations as they are learning skills and sending good money home to their parents. However, some reported being exploited by their employers.

He said the IHRP has schooling and research relating to children’s rights.

“We not only understand standards and human rights mechanisms relating to children, but also teach students to understand relevant thoughts and theories, as well as the ways society looks after and treats children.”