Thailand has a comprehensive legal system that implements the Convention on the Rights of the Child; however, challenges of enforcement remain. Despite a comprehensive legal system that implements child rights, inadequate legal enforcement and insufficient implementation of child rights policies hamper the effective realisation of children’s rights. Limited capacities within government ministries, budget constraints, decentralisation and coordination, and corruption issues present further obstacles to the realisation of children’s rights.

Thailand has been successful in reducing child labour rates in the formal economy over the past 25 years. Progress in the delivery of health and education services, combined with strategic investments to promote economic development has resulted in the reduction of child labour. However, the exploitation of the most vulnerable children continues to be a significant issue.

Foundation for Child Development (FCD)

In 2009, CCI opened the Santikham Centre on the outskirts of Bangkok thanks to exceptional support from the Mathieu-Lafond Foundation in Quebec. The project is implemented on the ground by our local partner, the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), a Thai NGO dedicated to the protection and defense of child workers since 1982.

The Santikham Centre’s mission is to promote the social reintegration of children exploited through labour, mostly undocumented immigrants. It therefore welcomes children from the Cambodian, Laotian and Burmese illegal immigrant communities in the province of Samutprakarn, close to Bangkok.

An estimated 350,000 to 90,000 illegal immigrants live among the over one million people crammed in this area of a little more than 1,000 km2. These very poor communities are mainly attracted by Thailand’s economic boom; they hope to find a job that will enable them to improve their living conditions and send their savings to relatives in their countries of origin.

This situation forces many children to work for a living, and suffer all sorts of exploitation and abuse.

The main objective of this project is to provide a warm and safe space for children who frequent the centre, a place where they can come and sleep in safety, play, eat, socialise, as well as talk in all confidence with specialised staff. The centre serves more than 300 families and also offers various additional services such as medical monitoring, and support in administrative and legal proceedings. Moreover, it also works to educate families on various issues (workers’ rights, occupational safety, child trafficking, health, etc.) which they may have to face in everyday life.