PROTECTION OF TRAFFICKED KHMU GIRLS FROM LAO PDR: CASES OF PRE-REINTEGRATION PROCESS AND HUMAN SECURITY IN THAILAND
This study discusses the issue of human trafficking, which focuses on Khmu girls who are trafficked into Thailand. It explores what mechanisms of protection are offered to Khmu victims of human trafficking to reach an approach of sustainable reintegration into their places of origin in order to ensure their human security. There are many Khmu girls from Luang Namtha, the northern poorest province in Laos, who move to Thailand to seek new opportunities. In 2014, there are 150 Khmu girls who are victims of human trafficking in shelter in Thailand. The objectives of this study are: 1) to study protection and prosecution of Khmu girls who are victims of human trafficking, especially the victim’s identification process; 2) to examine protection mechanisms leading to sustainable reintegration, which focus on adult literacy and vocational training programs; and 3) to study prospects of social and economic reintegration of Khmu girl victims of human trafficking. This study bases on data collected through qualitative research methods from primary and secondary sources, in-depth interviews with trafficked Khmu girls and participant observation for pre- reintegration in the shelter. It was found that case studies comprise of both sex and labor trafficked victims. They were rescued from the workplaces and transferred to shelter after they identified. All victims were protected in prosecution process and they were informed of the rights of victims, including rights to compensation and access to interpreter. In the shelter, they had a chance to participate in pre-reintegration program, both language and vocational training, which were supposed to enable their sustainable livelihood when they return to Laos. Considering victim’s security while they were in shelter, they had adequate access to food provided by shelter. Also the vegetables were grown by victims themselves. They also had access to healthcare, both physical and psychological, but other aspects of human security were not examined due to limitation of time.