Probe into Thai school’s alleged forced relocation of 130 ethnic children

Photo via Bangkok Post.

A committee has been formed by the Ministry of Education to investigate allegations that 130 ethnic children were forcibly relocated from a Thai-Myanmar border town to a school in Ang Thong’s Pa Mok district. Local complaints have been filed, claiming that a large group of ethnic children was enrolled in Thairath Wittaya 6 School, a small institution with only two teachers, one director, and one administrative staff member.

The school provides education from kindergarten to primary school, covering grades 1 to 6. Concerns have been raised about whether the children were brought to the school in order for it to receive financial support from the government and the private sector. The committee will look into the intentions of the school director, with police having already questioned the administrative staff member and the two teachers.

Pa Mok station superintendent, Pol. Col. Sakchai Kraiweeradechachai, reported that police discovered that none of the 137 students were Thai citizens. Seven students were found to be children of legally registered Cambodian migrant workers, while the remaining 130 children require proof of nationality, reports Bangkok Post.

The 130 children, who could not speak Thai, were moved from the school to Wat Sa Kaeo Orphan Aid Centre to undergo screening and determine if they are victims of human trafficking. Many of the children told an interpreter that they were taken from an Akha village on Doi Mae Salong in Chiang Rai province, a hill separating Thailand and Myanmar.

During the interview, one Akha girl reportedly cried, saying she missed her parents and her home in the North. She claimed that a group of strangers had taken her and other children from the village to Ang Thong against their will. The school director, Kanlaya Tasom, has refused to speak to the media.

To read more information about how migrants are treated in Thailand, click HERE.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.