We support nearly 8,500 children in 7 projects in Thailand, where we collaborate with partners who help us combat child trafficking in the border regions.


The fight against child trafficking

In Thailand it is predominantly minorities that are stricken by poverty. HIV-positive refugees and their children in the border region between Thailand and Myanmar are particularly disadvantaged. Children in this region often fall victim to abductions. Working together with our partners, we combat child trafficking and build awareness for the rights of HIV-positive children. We support women in setting up self-help groups that have proven effective in alleviating poverty.

The challenges

Although Thailand does not rank among the poorest countries in the region, many poor families have not benefited from the country's economic boom. Poverty mainly affects children, several hill tribes, and refugees in the border region between Thailand and Myanmar.

A child forms a heard with its hands. (Source: Focus, Nick Nostitz)
The indigenous population is particularly affected by poverty. 

The hill tribes of Thailand do not have citizenship and thus are not permitted to own land. With very limited access to educational institutions, they are missing the qualifications to find work in the cities. The hill tribes suffer from the destruction of the natural environment that serves as the basis for their livelihood.

HIV and AIDS are increasingly spreading throughout Thailand as a result of rampant prostitution. An estimated 380,000 children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and hundreds of children are born HIV-positive every year.

To make matters worse, the traditional family system in this up-and-coming newly industrialising country is crumbling. Weakened family traditions contribute to child and human trafficking, a growing problem in Thailand and the surrounding countries.

  • Our work in the country

    We have established a strong network of reliable partners over the years to combat child trafficking. We stay on top of cross-border activities as far as Laos and Myanmar and have made excellent progress in combating the forced prostitution of children and women.

    At the same time, we speak with families, politicians and other decision-makers to raise awareness of human and children's rights. Our projects are building the capacity of local actors in more effective advocacy. To achieve an even greater impact in the battle against child labour, we particularly target hotels and taxi drivers to raise awareness of prostitution and abductions.

    Additionally, we are working with children's groups to inform them of their rights and the dangers of child trafficking. A range of projects support sexually abused and HIV-positive children including therapy centres that not only focus on the children's health but also their overall development.

    In northern Thailand, on the border to Myanmar, we support refugees with small loans that allow them to establish a livelihood. We also make it possible for refugee children to attend school.

    Since 2013, self-help groups in Thailand have focused on the issue of HIV and AIDS. They raise awareness and promote prevention within their communities.

  • Key figures on Thailand

    • 18 % of Thais are under the age of 15
    • 9 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight
    • 90 % of all children attend primary school
    • 8 % of all children have to perform child labour
    • 13 % of the population lives below the poverty line

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

  • Child trafficking in Thailand

    In Thailand, along with bordering countries like Myanmar and Laos, cross-border child trafficking has become an ever-growing problem that we actively combat with our local partners.

    The children of hill tribe peoples suffer particularly from this situation. Girls and boys from diverse ethnic groups like the Akha, Lahu, Karen and Hmong are exploited and abused in many ways, such as forced prostitution, child labour, and human trafficking. Furthermore, many children in the border regions are abused, abducted, and used as child soldiers. Because many families live in dire poverty, children are often sold to traffickers for paltry amounts of money.

    Child trafficking extends beyond the confines of Thailand to the Golden Triangle area between Laos, Myanmar and China. The networks of Thai human trafficking rings reach as far as Western industrial countries. Crimes of this sort remain a lucrative business and continue to flourish thanks to ineffective law enforcement.

    Our projects actively campaign against child trafficking and forced prostitution. Children are registered, information campaigns inform families about human traffickers. Improved incomes protect children from being sold.

How we work

How we work

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting almost 1.9 million children in 33 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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