Protect Child Refugees in Thailand

Coping with Disasters:  Refugees and Displaced Persons in South-East Asia

Target: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Goal: Provide shelters for children escaping from Burma, and terminate dangerously unsanitary trafficking camps

The children who are fleeing from Burma are called the ‘boat people,’ a term used by refugees who escape their country by boat. These children are a part of the Rohingya, an ethnic minority of Muslims who are denied citizenship in Burma, escaping the country on small ramshackle boats without their parents. Unfortunately, upon arrival, many of these children face abuse by Thai authorities. The Thai government should sympathize with these children and provide open family shelters for these refugees.

Already, thousands of Rohingya have passed through three of the “trafficking camps” in southern Thailand. There, these children are either held for ransom or sold to fishing boats or farms as manual labor. Evidence indicates that Thailand officials are collaborating with the traffickers by transferring the children into their custody. A recent piece of testimony from a Thailand official who confirmed this collaboration has sparked an investigation by the United Nations.

Unfortunately, Thailand does not have a refugee law and won’t allow the Rohingya to register as asylum seekers or offer them protection. Those who were allowed into the country were classified as illegal immigrants and did not receive the protection required by international law. The government then separated the adult males and male children into detention centers – some of these children were unaccompanied – while the women and children were sent to closed shelters run by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

The Thai government needs to drastically improve its shelters, as they have become overcrowded and unsanitary. There have already been eight deaths related to these horrid conditions.  The children should be given access to education, and the trafficking camps need to be terminated. Those fleeing from a violent nation shouldn’t be treated like slaves and sold to the highest buyer. The refugees should be treated like human beings and be given aid. Sign this petition and demand that the prime minister of Thailand provide these basic necessities.


Dear Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra,

It has come to my attention that thousands of Rohingya children have fled their country of Burma to seek refuge in Thailand. Unfortunately, instead of giving these children aid, Thai officials have collaborated with human traffickers and either ransomed these children or sold them as laborers to fishing boats and farms. By allowing this to happen, you are selling these children as slaves, violating basic human rights.

Furthermore, the children and adults who are sent to shelters are being held in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, thereby spreading illness, disease, and death. The men and women are separated, meaning that families are broken up. These refugees have already experienced great trauma at the hands of their native country. How can Thailand think of adding to their struggle?

I ask that you provide open family shelters where the refugees can find their family members. In these shelters, I want to see children receive an education, as many of them cannot read in Thai. I also demand that you terminate the trafficking camps that exist in the southern part of your country. It disgusts me to know that officials and traffickers alike are working together to sell children. If you have a heart, you will see to it that these refugees are taken care of and given aid.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: John Issac via flickr

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One Comment

  1. Arlene Camden says:

    Protection des enfants, oui et pour tous les enfants du monde

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