Approximately four million migrant workers from the surrounding countries live in Thailand. Many of these people lack valid papers and as a result they can be mercilessly exploited. Solidar Suisse wants to help them access their rights.
Low wages, dangerous work
In Thailand, migrants often suffer under poor working conditions. The situation is particularly bad in the agricultural sector; many migrant workers do not even receive the already very low minimum wage and have to work overtime which is not remunerated.
Often, they put their health at risk in the course of their work yet receive no social benefits. Moreover, many people live in constant fear of dismissal or deportation. The pandemic is making their situation even worse and tens of thousands have lost their jobs.
«I used to spray pesticide from a rucksack. It had a hole in it, through which the pesticide burnt my skin. I had to go to the doctor and couldn’t work for 20 days. I wasn’t paid for that time.»
We work with the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) to improve the situation of migrant workers in Thailand’s agricultural sector. The network is comprised of approximately 40 specialised NGOs, grassroots organisations and research institutes from the region. Our project works to educate lawyers and activists. They use advice and action to fight for migrants’ rights. In addition, the network advises migrants, organises workshops and informs politicians and business about the precarious conditions in the agricultural sector.
With support from Solidar Suisse, the Mekong Migration Network conducted research into the situation of migrant workers in Thailand’s agricultural sector. The study was published in 2020. For the first time, it provides a detailed account of working conditions in corn, manioc, palm oil and rubber plantations. The report serves as the basis for our advisory and advocacy work.