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Academic calls on Thai government to help migrant children

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: South China Morning Post

“Premjai says many migrant children face daily health and safety risks as they are forced to work in jobs they’re too young for.”

A researcher from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University is calling on the government to provide assistance for vulnerable migrant children, many of whom are falling through the cracks in the welfare system. Premjai Vungsiripisal, from the Asian Research Centre for Migration at Chula’s Institute of Asian Studies, says many children born in Thailand to migrant labourers are not registered in the system.

“Presently, numerous children have no identification documents, and have not received vaccines or the complete set of them. Also, they were found to have lower weight and smaller body size than Thai children of the same age.”

The Nation reports that of an approximate total of 250,000 migrant children in Thailand, the numbers registered in the government system are suspected to be significantly lower, and Premjai says many are not registered for health insurance.

“It is a risk for children who get sick from unpreventable diseases.”

Adding to the problem is the fact that many unregistered migrants and their children are not covered, while children over the age of 7 must pay an insurance premium equal to that of an adult, putting health insurance firmly out of reach for many migrant families.

Premjai says many migrant children face daily health and safety risks as they are forced to work in jobs they’re too young for. Others try to make a living as street workers or through begging, meaning they have to deal with violence and threats on a regular basis, as well as limits on their access to healthcare.

“The health situation of migrant children is vulnerable in many aspects, due to government policy loopholes. Those measures did not cover all groups of children, as well as operation of relevant agencies that can be approached only by some group of migrant children. Guidelines and measures are needed from various concerned parties”.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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