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Phuket’s “baby dumping’ rise sparks stateless alarm



PHUKET: The rising number of babies being abandoned on Phuket is causing alarm among the authorities, with the director of the Phuket Shelter for Children and Families voicing concern that babies who cannot be identified possibly becoming “stateless”.

The shelter has been notified of more than 20 babies being abandoned since October 1 last year. The actual number is probably far higher, said Jiranan Jiamjaroen, the shelter’s director.

The most common reasons behind the baby dumping were parents being unable or unwilling to care for them on their own.

“Such cases typically involve single young mothers who unintentionally became pregnant. In these cases it is very difficult to track down the parents and the babies need long-term care,” Ms Jiranan said.

Such were the causes for the most recent case, that of a boy not even one year old being abandoned in the back of a pickup truck on Kwang Road.

Shelter workers were able to track down the parents and reunite them with their child, but the family remains under close watch, she said.

Another form of abandonment comes when parents leave their children with friends, babysitters or in nurseries and never return to collect them. In some cases the care-givers do not know the names or contact details of the parents and are unable to contact them.

To minimize the number of such incidents, Ms Jiranan urged people providing childcare services to record the names and ID numbers of the parents.

Ms Jiranan believes that many of the abandoned babies are the children of migrant workers from other provinces, though it is impossible to know with certainty in most cases.

“Most of the abandoned babies are left without birth certificates or other forms of identification, making their already bleak prospects for the future even worse as ‘stateless people’,” she said.

She urged anyone experiencing family problems, or aware of possible child abuse, to call the shelter’s hotline: 1300.

— Warisa Temram


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