In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.
02/25/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – While there are many migrants who wind up in Bangkok from other Southeast Asian countries to seek better career opportunities, refugees find themselves in a much more hostile environment. Even the few lucky ones who are able to obtain refugee status are often exploited by the local employers. They are usually underpaid and subject to their employer’s control, for the latter would threaten to report them to the police. In addition, they are less desired in the job market due to their illiteracy in the local language.
Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has no domestic legislation governing refugees. Consequently, the Thai government does not recognize the status of refugees and asylum seekers, who are treated as illegal immigrants. In fact, the Thai police conduct raids in communities where the refugees reside and seek to deport them in large numbers.
Once arrested, they will be brought to the notorious International Detention Center (IDC), where they are confined in cells with over-crowded, unhygienic conditions, with inadequate food and no access to medical care, separated from their families.
Since 2016, ICC has been supporting more than 60 Christian refugee women in Bangkok, with over 90% of them being Hmong. With the help of local partners, we provide sewing and language training, so that they can generate income in a safe environment.
On a hot summer day this year, Nga, a Hmong woman, shared the story of her people with ICC. A 17-year-old boy went to church, and was killed by the police in her hometown, she shared. Police also harassed her, preventing other Christians from attending church, so she no longer felt safe staying in Vietnam.
With $800 USD to her name, she was able to relocate to Bangkok only to face different challenges.
With her son merely bringing home 300 baht ($10) per day, her family of eight faces severe financial hardship in Thailand. At times, she would venture out and pick fruit from the streets to supplement their meals.
However, she is immensely grateful that, through the sewing training ICC provided, she is able to bring in extra income for her family. Although she prays that they can eventually move away from the constant fear of deportation, this vocational training will help alleviate the immediate financial burden.
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