Rapid economic growth over the last decade in Thailand has caused widespread Myanmar-Thailand migration in search of economic opportunities. About two million Myanmar migrants are estimated to be in Thailand, working in low paying jobs such as manufacturing and construction. Many of their children are without appropriate care, left behind in Myanmar and usually in the care of relatives or institutions.
The economic disparity between Myanmar and its neighbouring countries such as Thailand and China means that children are also subjected to increased risk of trafficking. Many of these trafficked children are pushed into forced marriages while others are exposed to hazardous labour and commercial sex trade. Myanmar is also a country where children have historically been recruited into the army or non-state armed groups. The lack of an effective child protection system and awareness of child protection has left millions of children vulnerable to neglect, exploitation and abuse.
What we do:
Save the Children works to build community-based child protection systems and educate communities about protecting children from neglect, exploitation and abuse. Communities are equipped to respond to the needs of children who are on the move, at risk of being recruited into the army and those who are affected by humiliating punishment, sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, Save the Children is working with the Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF and other local partners to help build a stronger national child protection system.
Children are trained to monitor and report on child protection issues, such as domestic violence, abuse, sexual exploitation and hazardous labour. We establish clubs and groups for children to understand and share knowledge of child rights and facilitate discussions between children and the authorities on issues related to child rights and child protection. We empower children to raise their voices in their communities on decisions or issues affecting them.
Within the last couple of years, Save the Children has established 200 community-based Child Protection Groups that have proven to be highly effective, able to take practical action to respond, prevent and protect children from abuse and neglect. These child protection groups have directly reached over 40,000 children and, through awareness-raising and advocacy activities, impacted nearly 150,000 children.