The Thai Ministry of Labour and the United Nations have launched a photo exhibition highlighting the positive aspects of migrant workers’ lives in Thailand.
The exhibition’s theme “A Positive Image”, aims to draw attention to the often positive experiences that many migrant workers have in Thailand and to promote a positive image of migrants in line with their contribution to the Thai economy and society. The exhibition is being held at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre from the 24th to the 29th July 2012.
The photos on display were all entries to the Saphan Siang (Bridge of Voices) Photo Competition that closed earlier in July. Entries were open to both Thai nationals and those living in Thailand, and the winning picture received a 10,000 Baht cash prize.
The winning photo, “Our City Our Future” was submitted by Helen Mitchell. “In Bangkok it is such a common sight to see workers, in the main migrant workers, on building sights from early in the morning until late at night. These communities of workers are clearly so critical to the built and social infrastructure of the city, such an important part of its fabric and its development. This photograph was taken at one of Bangkok's many building sites; it is of workers doing the relatively ordinary but it did not feel ordinary. It was a fortunate and spontaneous image, but one which I think captures a lot of positive things about migrant workers as individuals, but also as collective contributors to the city in which we live” Ms Mitchell said.
The photo contest and exhibition are part of the Saphan Siang (Bridge of Voices) campaign, which aims to promote understanding between Thais and migrant workers. The Saphan Siang campaign is supported by a number of organizations, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and World Vision International (WVI).
“We are often only presented with a negative image of migrant workers, or only hear about the negative experiences migrants have in Thailand. But there are many positive stories to tell, and the photos in this exhibition represent a snapshot,” said Ms Thetis Mangahas, ILO Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
A recent ILO survey on public attitudes to migrant workers in four migrant-receiving countries in the region (Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea as well as Thailand) showed limited understanding about the economic contribution migrants make and limited support for migrants' rights.
Several studies have shown that migrants make a net contribution to Thailand’s economy. Future projections indicate that rising education levels combined with a shrinking working age population mean that migrants will continue to be needed to counter labour shortages in some low-skill and labour intensive jobs for years to come.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is located at the Pathumwan Intersection, facing the MBK and Siam Discovery Centre. The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m from 24 to 29 July. Admission is free
For more information please call the BACC at: 02-2146630
For further information please contact:
Ms Kuanruthai Siripatthanakosol
National Project Coordinator for Thailand
Tripartite Action to Protect Migrant Workers from Labour Exploitation (TRIANGLE Project)
Tel: +662 288 1354
Fax: +662 288 3062
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
Tel: +662 (0) 2288 1664