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Claims are being made of children working in Phuket clubs and pubs

'Children in Phuket Bars, Clubs' Claim Rejected

Friday, May 22, 2009
LOCAL authorities have rejected reports that children are being driven by economic circumstances to work in tourist bars and clubs.

The claim is made in the Christian Post, where author Lillian Kwon writes: ''In Phuket, Thailand, World Vision reported a dramatic increase in local and migrant children searching for work in tourist bars and clubs.''

The claim comes in an article headed 'Economic crisis pushing more children into forced labour' which begins: ''The global economic crisis is forcing more children around the world into the worse forms of child labour, international relief and development organisation World Vision warns.

'''Poverty drives people to desperate measures. And in dire situations, children become one of two things: a source of income or a drain on the income,' Jesse Eaves, World Vision's policy adviser for children in crisis and a son of missionaries, told The Christian Post.''

However, Anuchon Varinsathien, Chief of Phuket Provincial Office of Labour Protection and Welfare, dismissed the claims of children working in bars and clubs, let alone a ''dramatic increase'' in numbers seeking work.

''There is no evidence of this,'' he told Phuketwan.

''I am satisfied that the regular checks on documentation made by labor officers and police would show if children were being forced into this kind of role.

''Any bar or club that employed under-age people would be risking their licence,'' he said. ''We have had no reports that this is happening.''

He said, however, that some people between the ages of 15 and 18 may be employed in menial roles in restaurants.

About five or six employers each month would ask to employ youth labor under 18. Each case was examined on its merits, he said, and usually involved people who had left before completing high school who needed work.

The Christian Post article reports: ''On the east coast of India, children are making gravel, smashing rocks in temperatures of nearly 40 degrees celsius for up to 16 hours a day, noted Eaves, who visited Southeast Asia earlier this year to examine the problems on the ground.

''Already, 126 million children in the world are working in hazardous conditions and 1.2 million are trafficked and exploited every year as child laborers, Eaves pointed out.

''Sexual exploitation is the most common form of human trafficking followed by forced labor and child soldiers.''

Mr Eaves' blog of a tour of Bangkok and Cambodia appears on the World Vision site but does not contain any mention of Phuket.

A search of the site produces this reference from a report dated May 12 by Geraldine Ryverson-Cruz: ''In the resort town of Phuket, Thailand, World Vision's Street Children Project has seen a dramatic increase in both local and migrant children searching for work in the tourist bars and clubs.''

Phuketwan is awaiting a more detailed account from World Vision in support of its claims.

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we who live in phuket know only too well the many hundreds of children seen daily hawking flowers to the tourists in the bars while their guardians wait round the corner to collect the money!!!

Posted by Anonymous on May 23, 2009 00:44


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