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World Histories and Issues

Tutor Marked Assignment

(July 2015 Essay)


Trafficked children from Cambodia forced to beg in streets of Thailand

Name: Cai Xinyi

Student ID: Z1580945
Tutorial Group: TG06


Slavery in the past was legal and practiced openly in every ancient civilization. Even
though slavery has been made illegal since the 19th century, the practice of modern
slavery exists till today. Modern slavery exists in many forms all around the world,
particularly sex and labour trafficking, forced labour and child labour. Today, most of
the activities are conducted in the gray market and perpetrators are careful in their
trafficking processes to avoid getting apprehended. In this essay, I shall focus on child
labour trafficking, mainly children who are trafficked from Cambodia and forced to
engage in begging activities on the streets of Thailand.
According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children (2000), child trafficking is defined as the
recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose
of exploitation of children below the age of 18 years old (UNICEF, 2011).
Additionally, human trafficking is committed by the use of threat or force and other
forms of coercion, abduction, fraud or deception of the victims (, n.d.).
Thailand is a popular destination for human trafficking with a significant figure of
475,300 people subjected to slavery activities (Global Slavery Index, 2014). These
child victims are usually trafficked from remote villages in Thailand or in some cases
from neighboring countries such as Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam. Cambodian
children from 4 to 17 years old are transported from their home cities to beg on the
streets of Thailand, usually in the capital city, Bangkok and other popular tourists
spots. These victims come from highly populated rural areas like Kampong Cham,
Prey Veng and Battambang (, n.d.). Children are often identified
as easy targets of human trafficking as they are young and vulnerable, cheaper to
employ and have no ability of attempting to escape from labour exploitations.


As Cambodia is faced with economic instability, high corruption level, gender
equality as well as low education standards, this often made the Cambodians an easy
target. Taking advantage of the vulnerability of Cambodians, the human trafficking
agents would often target the poorer families who are struggling with debt pressures,
and convince them to rent or sell their children for a sum of money of US$50
(Langer, 2005), in promise for better working conditions for their child in Thailand.
In order to gain trust from the parents, these agents or intermediaries are often related
to or friends of the parents. Having left with no other choices, the parents would agree
to the transaction of their children. In return, parents are promised of monthly
remunerations of roughly US$120 (, n.d).
Taking advantage of the close proximity between the two countries, the Cambodian
victims usually enter Thailand through Aranyanprathet in Srakaew Province, Surin
and Trat Province via sea route (Thailand Human Trafficking Datasheet, n.d.).
(Refer to Appendix Figure 1) Border officials would collaborate with the traffickers
to ensure that their illegal entries are carried out successfully. With a weak law
enforcement and border control, it is possible for human trafficking groups to transit
to Thailand without getting caught. Additionally, transit countries would not report to
the officials to avoid souring relations with Thailand. (The Nation, 2014).
After the victims have arrived in Thailand, they are forced by the traffickers to beg on
the streets of Thailand, depriving them of the good working conditions promised.
These children are commonly found on the streets near tourists spots and busy
business districts. They are given daily quotas and would usually beg until 3 or 4 in
the morning to meet their quota, in fear of getting punished. Based on the accounts of
survivors of child trafficking, most of the children were intentionally abused
physically and in some cases, their hands and legs were amputated to make them
more lucrative as passersby tend to pity and empathise with them (,
2005). These children never get paid from their earnings, and are only provided with
basic food and accommodation. The living conditions of the child beggars were
dreadful as it houses as many as 20 to 30 people in a small 2-bedroom hut (ZOE

International, 2011). These vulnerable kids were not told how they can contact their
parents or ask for help. They have lost all hopes to returning home.


The Thailand government increased its efforts to reduce child trafficking activities in
the country. There are several laws that would impose severe penalties on those who
were found guilty of charges of taking part in child trafficking and exploiting
activities. These laws include the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Labour Protection
Act and Child Protection Act (SIREN, n.d.). The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act
(2015) has been amended with heavier charges enforced. Death penalty and fines of
up to US$12,281 will be imposed on those found guilty of trafficking offences
(Reuters, 2015).
With increasing pressures from international countries to prevent future human
trafficking, Thailand has designed the Chiang Mai Model (CCM). Since the
introduction of the CCM, hundreds of girls and women have received medical and
psychosocial assistance. Majority of the victims had agreed to testify against the
traffickers (The Asia Foundation, 2015). This approach aims to track down and
arrest the child trafficking syndicates in Thailand.


However, the Thailand governments existing measures are undeniably insufficient.

Corruption is still prevalent and many high-ranking officials continued to collaborate
with the traffickers. The United Nations have thus ranked Thailand as a tier-three
watch list in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 for failing to comply with the
minimum standards and not showing significant efforts (U.S. Department of State,
Also, ringleaders are difficult to apprehend as they seldom perform the transaction
themselves. They have inured their underlings and victims using fear and abuse so
that when arrested, they will not reveal the information of their ringleaders (ZOE
International, 2011). This clever act is one of the reasons why human trafficking
still exists in the world today.



I would suggest that Thailand officials place anti-trafficking posters around the
vicinity of suspected child trafficking areas to alert victims, so that they are aware of a
hotline or organisation to go to when they needed assistance. Anti-trafficking posters
should be in different languages including Thailand and Cambodia so that child
victims are able to understand. As some of the child victims are illiterate, visual
illustrations would be helpful.
Finally, tourists and locals should be advised not to donate to the child beggars, as
ringleaders would usually confiscate their donations and the earnings rarely reach the
children. In the long run, when people stop donating and contributing to their source
of income, child trafficking would no longer be a profitable business for the
ringleaders. Thus, the demand for child beggars would be reduced.


In conclusion, child labour trafficking is prevalent in Thailand and many innocent

children and families have fallen as victims to this form of slavery. This has sparked
national concerns. The Thailand government needs increase its effort and work
closely with the related authorities to resolve the gaps, so that child trafficking can be
resolved in Thailand.

Word Count (excluding in-text citations): 1197 words

Figure 1: Cambodia-Thailand Cross-Border Human Trafficking Route

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