Migrant Worker in Thailand-แรงงานข้ามชาติ

In Thailand, there are almost two million migrant workers, around eighty percent of them being Burmese. Many of the Burmese workers came in the eighties and nineties as Thailand experienced an economic boom having an average wage increase of eight percent per year. This was because the migrant Burmese workers would take up the jobs that many Thai people would not such as manufacturing and hard agricultural work. Many leave in the face of almost certain poverty for the chance of a better life.

I am Burmese and a migrant worker that is why the police don’t care about this case…. [M]y husband and I are only migrant workers and we have no rights here.

—Aye Aye Ma, from Burma, who was raped by two unknown Thai assailants after they shot and killed her husband on November 5, 2007, in Phang Nga province

This is not always the case as can be seen from this testimony by Aye Aye Ma. Many Burmese workers are bound totally to their employer. Many of the workers face extortion, physical harm and threats by government authorities. These are clear human rights abuses and are not limited to simply one area of Thailand but rather along the entirety of the country. Migrant workers face extortion at will by Thai authorities, often the value of several months wages at a time.When they cannot pay the workers are often beaten and arrested until a family member or friends can pay for their release.

Below is some quotes from the Human Rights Watch report: The tiger and the Crocodile

Whenever we are walking and talking on the street, if the police see us using the phone they will stop us and take it. If you want to talk to me about these kinds of cases, you will not be able to finish the interview today….It happens every day.

—U Win, a migrant worker from Burma in Surat Thani, August 27, 2008.

There are many dangers for workers who work at night. For example, when the workers meet Thai teenager gangs, they are robbed and beaten….The danger we face is invisible. If we were able to have mobile phones and motorcycles, we might manage to escape from the danger.[67]

—U Win, migrant worker from Burma, Muang district, Surat Thani province

If you pay money [to the police], you can do anything in our region. If you want, you can kill people … I have seen dead bodies many times by the side of the road … Our area is like a fighting zone … when the police hear the sounds of gunshots, they will not come … [later] the police will come ask what happened, and write down the information and then they go away, and that is all that happens.

—Saw Htoo, Burmese migrant worker who provided information to the Thai police, Mae Sot district, Tak province

“He was coming out of the shop. There were two police officers on a motorcycle who stopped him and asked him if he had a work permit. But he could not speak Thai and so he did not reply….Those two police started to beat him and they kicked him in the chest until he died there. Many Burmese were watching and nobody went and helped because all of the people were afraid of those police, so nobody said anything about this killing, and nobody informed the police station. When the two police saw that the boy died, they went away on their motorcycle. I saw the next morning that the rescue foundation came and took the boy’s dead body and no police officer was with them … I really wanted to help but I am afraid of those police.”

This is just a sampling of the human rights abuses and racial discrimination that Burmese workers face everyday here in Thailand.

Inequality

  I find the three different categories of inequality to be very interesting,particularly the fact that the word inequality is used and never the word poor. Poor in my mind is just a word we use to describe people who may be have less or in a more degrading situation than their peers. Most people […]

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I find the three different categories of inequality to be very interesting,particularly the fact that the word inequality is used and never the word poor. Poor in my mind is just a word we use to describe people who may be have less or in a more degrading situation than their peers. Most people use the word poor when they mean inequality .Economic deprivation is the most common example of inequality, this includes but not limited to:income poverty,insecure livelihoods and asset deficits.Some well known cases of  economic deprivation are the substance farmers currently in Ghana,unemployed youth in Egypt,numerous indigenous groups in Mexico,Bolivia and the Philippines, homeless families in India,landless people in Uganda,trafficked children in Ghana, as well as all disaster -affected people.

Another form of inequality is discrimination.There are many and varying forms of discrimination . Two major groups of discrimination are people who are marginalised in society because of their identity or are lower down in the social hierarchy. Some peoples who are majorly affected by discrimination are: the indigenous groups in Mexico, Bolivia and the Philippines, the Dalit (untouchables in India),racial minorities Brazil and Nigeria,people with disabilities in Bangladesh,sexual minority groups in the Balkans,sex workers,LGBTQA, HIV-aids as well as people marginalised by conflict like the Palestinians.

Finally there is spatial inequality.This kind of inequality is active in regions of the world where people live in adverse conditions.These regions serve to disadvantage those who live and work in them.These people simply cannot escape poverty.Some examples of people who suffer from spatial inequality are people who live in mountainous terrain,remote areas, underserved urban slums or areas vulnerable to climate change.

People need to feel empowered that they themselves can make a change.

“Peoples relationships within their families and wider communities can enable or undermine their feelings of empowerment,self-recognition, belonging and aspirations for change-critical factors that enable agency.”

What  they have against them however is not one state of inequality but rather a multitude of problems that force people into think they are not capable of making any social change. People feel this way perhaps because of their family and other around them.Inequalities continue through lifetimes and generations and people are left feeling hopeless.

Development programmes and policies often do not help as they are very linear in their approach and look at a very simple understanding of change.Inequality however is sustained through a myriad of complex and interconnected social issues.

“It is impossible for someone to buy soap when he has no food. I cannot pay money for a latrine without food. I cannot buy a jerry can of water when I have no food. So we end up in dirty environment, poor hygiene and sanitation. This is where diseases come from. We drink unboiled water, survive on one cup of porridge, this can also make one sick. We end up suffering from cholera,kwashiorkor,dysentery, malaria and HIV and generally carrying a poor health situation. All the time you’re sick and you spend more, and then you cannot spend anymore. In most cases the poor die because we lack money to treat us and we die.”
(Slum-dweller, HEPS-Uganda 2013)

If people feel like they have power however ,they can and do make lasting change.They need to have a sense of belonging and feel like a citizen in their own country. Support networks of any kind are crucial as a transforming source of personal power.

Inequality

 7f6b3f33b96ab16aa9364bd2ca533c77.landscape

I find the three different categories of inequality to be very interesting,particularly the fact that the word inequality is used and never the word poor. Poor in my mind is just a word we use to describe people who may be have less or in a more degrading situation than their peers. Most people use the word poor when they mean inequality .Economic deprivation is the most common example of inequality, this includes but not limited to:income poverty,insecure livelihoods and asset deficits.Some well known cases of  economic deprivation are the substance farmers currently in Ghana,unemployed youth in Egypt,numerous indigenous groups in Mexico,Bolivia and the Philippines, homeless families in India,landless people in Uganda,trafficked children in Ghana, as well as all disaster -affected people.

Another form of inequality is discrimination.There are many and varying forms of discrimination . Two major groups of discrimination are people who are marginalised in society because of their identity or are lower down in the social hierarchy. Some peoples who are majorly affected by discrimination are: the indigenous groups in Mexico, Bolivia and the Philippines, the Dalit (untouchables in India),racial minorities Brazil and Nigeria,people with disabilities in Bangladesh,sexual minority groups in the Balkans,sex workers,LGBTQA, HIV-aids as well as people marginalised by conflict like the Palestinians.

Finally there is spatial inequality.This kind of inequality is active in regions of the world where people live in adverse conditions.These regions serve to disadvantage those who live and work in them.These people simply cannot escape poverty.Some examples of people who suffer from spatial inequality are people who live in mountainous terrain,remote areas, underserved urban slums or areas vulnerable to climate change.

People need to feel empowered that they themselves can make a change.

“Peoples relationships within their families and wider communities can enable or undermine their feelings of empowerment,self-recognition, belonging and aspirations for change-critical factors that enable agency.”

What  they have against them however is not one state of inequality but rather a multitude of problems that force people into think they are not capable of making any social change. People feel this way perhaps because of their family and other around them.Inequalities continue through lifetimes and generations and people are left feeling hopeless.

Development programmes and policies often do not help as they are very linear in their approach and look at a very simple understanding of change.Inequality however is sustained through a myriad of complex and interconnected social issues.

“It is impossible for someone to buy soap when he has no food. I cannot pay money for a latrine without food. I cannot buy a jerry can of water when I have no food. So we end up in dirty environment, poor hygiene and sanitation. This is where diseases come from. We drink unboiled water, survive on one cup of porridge, this can also make one sick. We end up suffering from cholera,kwashiorkor,dysentery, malaria and HIV and generally carrying a poor health situation. All the time you’re sick and you spend more, and then you cannot spend anymore. In most cases the poor die because we lack money to treat us and we die.”
(Slum-dweller, HEPS-Uganda 2013)

If people feel like they have power however ,they can and do make lasting change.They need to have a sense of belonging and feel like a citizen in their own country. Support networks of any kind are crucial as a transforming source of personal power.