The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and neighbouring countries comprise one of the world’s most dynamic migration hubs. There are well over two million migrants in both Thailand and Malaysia, and the number of migrants from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam continues to rise. The structure of the economies and demographic evolution is driving the need for low-skilled workers in labour-intensive jobs; and established chain migration links match this demand with a steady supply of migrants attracted by the wage differential.
As the number of women and men migrants within and from the GMS grows, so do the opportunities for unscrupulous job brokers and employers to take advantage of them. Studies into the living and working conditions of low-skilled migrants in the region reveal indicators of abuse commonly associated with labour exploitation are widespread. These indicators include high recruitment costs; deception about wages, type of work and legal status; withheld wages; retained passports or identity documents; physical confinement; substandard working conditions, and threats of denunciation to the authorities.
Migrants have limited access to justice through the legal system or collective action. Few aggrieved migrant workers complain about their brokers or employers because they are afraid to lose their jobs and their work permits. Furthermore, the authorities have limited capacity to monitor recruitment practices in rural areas or inspect conditions where migrants work – often isolated within a home, behind factory gates, on a boat or on a plantation.
Tripartite Action to Protect Migrants within and from the Greater Mekong Sub-region from Labour Exploitation (the TRIANGLE project) aims to significantly reduce the exploitation of labour migrants through increased legal and safe migration and improved labour protection. Each of the six participating countries has distinct circumstances, but there are resounding commonalities in the challenges faced and the shortcomings in systems.
The TRIANGLE project will work to strengthen migrant recruitment and labour protection policies and practices that reflect the interests of tripartite constituents and gender-specific concerns. To ensure that the authorities and social partners can fulfil their roles and responsibilities under the law, support will be provided to the development of tools, the delivery of training and more effective coordination of the various stakeholders – at national and regional levels. In addition, the rights of women and men migrants and potential migrants will be protected through increased access to support services, training, representation and social inclusion.
For further information please contact:
Mr Max Tunon
Senior Programme Officer/Project Coordinator
Tel: +662 288 2245
Fax: +662 288 3062