Nimu arrived in Thailand at the age of 8. She left Myanmar with her mother, her two sisters, brother-in-law and niece. Seeking a better life, they moved to a residential community attached to a seafood processing facility.
With Nimu’s father absent, and her wage dependent on the volume of prawns she could peel in any given day, Nimu’s mother soon found that she struggled to provide for her family. Young Nimu became a natural source of labour to supplement the family’s income.
Her working life began when she started following her mother to work in the shrimp processing plant. She started physically working there at the age of just 10 years old.
“I’m glad that my daughter could work from a young age. It is a pity but I want to know how much work she can handle. So, I let her try because she will need to take care of herself.”NIMU’S MOTHER
Now 15, Nimu currently works alongside going to Thai school, leaving her little time to rest and study. Her sisters now work at the same seafood processing facility. As the work is based on the volume of shrimp to be peeled, the hours can be extremely inconsistent. When the shrimp run out, so does the pay. Because of this, Nimu is forced to start work at 4am with the delivery of the latest catch, in order to ensure she can bring money home to the family.
Nimu’s residency in Thailand is linked to her employer. Her identification documents identify her as 20 years old, placing her above legal working age. Her true age is shown on her student card.
I want to help my mother make money because our family lives in poverty.”NIMU, 15 YEARS OLD
Nimu’s story is not uncommon amongst the children of migrant labourers. Though policy exists to prevent child labour in Thailand, plenty of employers are willing to exploit migrant children by accepting false data for identification documents. With brokers and officials prone to corruption, and families in dire poverty, parents become incentivised to send their underage children to work.
*Child’s name changed to protect identity
What is Safe Child Thailand doing to help?
We aim to protect the child victims of exploitation and forced labour by providing access to education, rehabilitation and justice. We have formed new partnerships with outstanding local organisations in Chiang Mai Province and Samut Sakhon Province. Working in partnership we strive to bring an end to the exploitation of children in Thailand. This work includes:
- Providing health clinics that offer tests and medical supplies for children exploited in the sex industry.
- Providing temporary shelter to support child victims of forced labour and human trafficking.
- Supporting families through micro-finance and small business training, keeping their children in school instead of at work.
- Assisting the authorities to identify victims and bring cases of child labour and trafficking to court.
- Educating vulnerable families and communities on the dangers of child exploitation.
- Running public awareness campaigns on the prevention of child exploitation and services available for victims of forced labour.
With your support, there is huge potential for Safe Child Thailand to become a catalyst for change in the region. Thanks to your generosity, our partners on the ground are able to deliver world-class services for the prevention of child exploitation and the rehabilitation of those who have already been victimised.