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Migrant children as young as 11 found working in Tak factories

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Migrant children as young as 11 found working in Tak factories
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: At least three textile and electronics factories in the western province of Tak were found to be using immigrant child laborers aged under 15, according to Labor Ministry official Peerapat Pornsirilertkit.

The Labor Protection Act of 1998 prohibits the hiring of minors under 15, and offenders face up to a year in jail and/or a Bt200,000 fine.

Mr Peerapat told a Bangkok seminar that the first national plan to combat the worst form of child labor would be concluded soon. The results would be analyzed to formulate a policy and a second national plan for fiscal years 2015-2020.

So far, the department had assigned two special task-force teams – comprising soldiers and officials – to solve child-labor issues, he said.

They found that at least three Tak factories had hired children from Myanmar aged 11-14. Two textile factories had hired two underage kids and an electronic-parts factory three kids, he said. Officials were also watching two other suspect factories.

Mr Peerapat leads the ministry’s Department of Labor, Protection and Welfare. He said the department was considering asking for 10 million baht from the government to conduct a survey of the number of child laborers and create a database for clearer information to explain to officials in the United States.

In related news, Noppadon Kannika, an adviser to the labor minister, affirmed that the ministry would ensure that illegal foreign laborers were protected from human trafficking and paid compensation by their employers in accordance with the 300-baht minimum wage before they were repatriated.

A Labor Ministry-led integrated task force to prevent problems of illegal foreign laborers and human trafficking within the Bangkok area recently found 67 illegal Cambodian workers at a construction site near Bang Pho Police Station, Mr Noppadon said.

“Of these workers, 52 had only personal-document copies and no work permits, while 11 had no work permits or personal documents, and four others were found to be working in a wrong field,” he said.

“By law, employers must return original personal documents to all foreign workers, and provide compensation in accordance with the Bt300 minimum wage. From this batch, 15 Cambodian workers will be sent to their home country.

“The ministry will ensure their safe passage home along with their wages, under the direction of the ‘Protect, Pay, and Bring Them Home’ policy, whereby foreign workers of all nationalities are treated equally,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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