Blog Entry #2: Hanni Stoklosa, Bangkok, Thailand, Post-Natural Disaster Human Trafficking Prevention in Thailand
With our strong team of researchers, we were able to interview a number of UN agencies, local Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international NGOs, and Thai governmental agencies working in disaster response and anti-human trafficking. While analysis is ongoing, preliminarily we have seen some interesting trends.
Populations which are vulnerable to human trafficking at baseline include migrants from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos as well as Thai children and Thai minority groups. The flood water resulted in the closure of many factories where these marginalized groups typically work. As such, the floods caused major shifts in the labor market, leaving these already vulnerable groups open to exploitation, with reports of near-bondage labor conditions in some industries. Families were geographically fragmented. Undocumented status may have left certain groups further exposed to exploitation, as they were less likely to receive benefit from social safetynets available to the general Thai population. Communication via social media was a helpful, protective tool for many communities with access to internet. There were no mentions of explicit human trafficking prevention efforts among relief organizations during the flood time. While we continue to analyze our data, looking to the future, a population-level study based on the sample frames defined during this study will help to further elucidate the impact of disasters on human trafficking and thereby inform future prevention and protection measures.
|Thai Red Cross|
As my trip comes to a close, I want to thank the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) at Mahidol University, my residency program, Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, and the Partners Healthcare COE Global and Humanitarian Health Scholarship Program for making this important research on human trafficking in disaster contexts possible.
|Members of our research team and partner organizations, HHI, ADPC & IPSR|