Measuring the Change
using prevalence data providing the widest temporal coverage of the most complete and comparable measures available by ICLS standards.
Due to lack of nationally representative data, there is no change to report.
Best Target 8.7 Data:
No data available.
- Child labour: Limited ILO/UNICEF data
- Forced labour: No nationally representative data
- Human trafficking: No nationally representative data
Human Development Index Score: 0.777 (2019)
Mean School Years: 7.9 years (2019)
Vulnerable Employment: 55.9% (2013)
Working Poverty Rate: 0.1% (2016)
- ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, P029: Ratified 2018
- ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, C182: Ratified 2001
- UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol): Ratified 2013
Social Protection Coverage
General (at least one): Not available
Unemployed: 28.5% (2012)
Pension: 81.7% (2010)
Vulnerable: Not available
Children: Not available
Disabled: 25.7% (2016)
Poor: Not available
Measurement of child labour prevalence has evolved considerably over the past two decades. Estimates of child labour incidence are more robust and exist for more countries than any other form of exploitation falling under SDG Target 8.7.
Children in Hazardous Work, Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)
Hazardous child labour is the largest category of the worst forms of child labour with an estimated 73 million children aged 5-17 working in dangerous conditions in a wide range of sectors. Worldwide, the ILO estimates that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year.
In Thailand, the latest estimates show that 0.8 percent of children aged 5-14 were engaged in hazardous work in 2018. The measures provided do not cover the full definition of hazardous work, but use a reduced definition.
The chart displays differences in the percentage of children aged 5-14 in hazardous labour by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2006 and 2018.
Children in Hazardous Work, Aged 15-17 (Source: ILO)
Children aged 15-17 are permitted to engage in economic activities by international conventions in most cases, except when the work is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children (Article 3 (d) of ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182)).
In Thailand, the latest estimates show that 4.8 percent of children aged 15-17 were engaged in hazardous work in 2018. The measure provided does not cover the full definition of hazardous work, but uses a reduced definition.
The chart displays differences in the percentage of children aged 15-17 in hazardous labour by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2018.
Weekly Work Hours, Children Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)
Children aged 5-11 are considered to be subjected to child labour when engaging in any form of economic activity. Children aged 12-14 are permitted to engage in “light” work that is not considered hazardous and falls below 14 hours per week.
According to the latest 2006 estimates, the average number of hours worked per week by children aged 5-14 in Thailand was 8.6 hours.
The chart displays differences in the number of hours that children aged 5-14 work in economic activities by sex and region. The sample includes all children of this age group. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2006.
Weekly Work Hours, Children Only in Economic Activity, Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)
Children not attending school who are engaged in economic activity can be subjected to longer working hours.
In Thailand, the latest year with available data, children in economic activity only, meaning they are not in school, worked an average of 28.8 hours per week.
The chart displays differences in the number of hours worked by children aged 5-14 who are not in school, by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2006.
Weekly Hours in Household Chores, Children Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)
Researchers recognize that children involved in economic activities are not the only children working. The ICLS recommended definition of child labour includes children aged 5-14 performing household chores for at least 21 hours per week.
Children aged 5-14, on average, are found to work on household chores 5.7 hours per week according to the 2006 estimate.
The chart displays differences in the number of hours children aged 5-14 work on household chores by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2006.
Measuring the incidence of forced labour is a much more recent endeavour and presents unique methodological challenges compared to the measurement of child labour.
No nationally representative data is available on forced labour prevalence in Thailand.
Visit the How to Measure the Change page for information on new guidelines presented by the International Labour Organization and adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.
The challenges in estimating human trafficking are similar to those of estimating forced labour, though recent innovations in estimation have begun to produce prevalence estimates in developed countries.
No nationally representative data is available on human trafficking prevalence in Thailand.
Visit the How to Measure the Change page to learn about measuring human trafficking prevalence, including information on collecting data through national referral mechanisms and producing prevalence statistics using Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE).
Case Data: International and Non-Governmental Organizations
Civil society organizations (CSOs) focused on human trafficking victim assistance can serve as crucial sources of data given their ability to reach a population that is notoriously difficult to sample.
Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC): The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Polaris and Liberty Asia have launched a global data repository on human trafficking, with data contributed by counter-trafficking partner organizations around the world. Not only does the CTDC serve as a central repository for this critical information, it also publishes normed and harmonized data from various organizations using a unified schema. This global dataset facilitates an unparalleled level of cross-border, trans-agency analysis and provides the counter-trafficking movement with a deeper understanding of this complex issue. Equipped with this information, decision makers will be empowered to create more targeted and effective intervention strategies.
UNODC compiles a global dataset on detected and prosecuted traffickers, which serves as the basis in their Global Report for country profiles. This information is beginning to paint a picture of trends over time, and case-specific information can assist investigators and prosecutors.
Key aspects of human development, such as poverty and lack of education, are found to be associated with risk of exploitation. Policies that address these issues may indirectly contribute to getting us closer to achieving Target 8.7.
Human Development Index (Source: UNDP)
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of achievements in three key dimensions of human development: (1) a long and healthy life; (2) access to knowledge; and (3) a decent standard of living. Human development can factor into issues of severe labour exploitation in multiple ways.
The chart displays information on human development in Thailand between 1990 and 2019. Only certain sample years have data disaggregated by sex.
The most recent year of the HDI, 2019, shows that the average human development score in Thailand is 0.777. This score indicates that human development is high.
HDI Education Index (Source: UNDP)
Lack of education and illiteracy are key factors that make both children and adults more vulnerable to exploitive labour conditions.
As the seminal ILO report Profits and Poverty explains:
“Adults with low education levels and children whose parents are not educated are at higher risk of forced labour. Low education levels and illiteracy reduce employment options for workers and often force them to accept work under poor conditions. Furthermore, individuals who can read contracts may be in a better position to recognize situations that could lead to exploitation and coercion.”
The bars on the chart represent the Education Index score and the line traces the mean years of education in Thailand over time.
Decent work, a major component of SDG 8 overall, has clear implications on the forms of exploitation within Target 8.7. Identifying shortcomings in the availability of equitable, safe and stable employment can be a step in the right direction towards achieving Target 8.7.
Vulnerable Employment (Source: UNDP)
There are reasons to believe that certain types of labour and labour arrangements are more likely to lead to labour exploitation. According to the ILO:
“Own-account workers and contributing family workers have a lower likelihood of having formal work arrangements, and are therefore more likely to lack elements associated with decent employment, such as adequate social security and a voice at work. The two statuses are summed to create a classification of ‘vulnerable employment’, while wage and salaried workers together with employers constitute ‘non-vulnerable employment’.”
Between 1990 and 2013, Thailand showed a decrease in the proportion of workers in vulnerable employment as compared to those in secure employment.
Working Poverty Rate (Source: ILO)
Labour income tells us about a household’s vulnerability. As the ILO explains in Profits and Poverty:
“Poor households find it particularly difficult to deal with income shocks, especially when they push households below the foodgline. In the presence of such shocks, men and women without social protection nets tend to borrow to smooth consumption, and to accept any job for themselves or their children, even under exploitative conditions.”
ILO indicators that measure poverty with respect to the labour force include working poverty rate, disaggregated by age groupings and sex, with temporal coverage spanning from 2000 to 2016. The chart displays linear trends in working poverty rate over time for all individuals over 15 years of age.
Labour Productivity (Source: ILO)
“Labour productivity is an important economic indicator that is closely linked to economic growth, competitiveness, and living standards within an economy.” However, when increased labour output does not produce rising wages, this can point to increasing inequality. As indicated by a recent ILO report (2015), there is a “growing disconnect between wages and productivity growth, in both developed and emerging economies”. The lack of decent work available increases vulnerability to situations of labour exploitation.
Labour productivity represents the total volume of output (measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) produced per unit of labour (measured in terms of the number of employed persons) during a given period.
Research to date suggests that a major factor in vulnerability to labour exploitation is broader social vulnerability, marginalization or exclusion.
Vulnerable Groups (Source: UNHCR)
Creating effective policy to prevent and protect individuals from forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour means making sure that all parts of the population are covered, particularly the most vulnerable groups, including migrants.
According to the 2016 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: “Almost one of every four victims of forced labour were exploited outside their country of residence, which points to the high degree of risk associated with migration in the modern world, particularly for migrant women and children.”
As IOM explains: “Although most migration is voluntary and has a largely positive impact on individuals and societies, migration, particularly irregular migration, can increase vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation.” UNODC similarly notes that: “The vulnerability to being trafficked is greater among refugees and migrants in large movements.”
The chart displays UNHCR’s estimates of persons of concern in Thailand.
Achieving SDG Target 8.7 will require national governments to take direct action against the forms of exploitation through policy implementation.
Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2008
In this act:
“Forced Labour or Service” means compelling the other person to work or provide service by putting such person in fear of injury to life, body, liberty, reputation or property, of such person or another person, by means of intimidation, use of force, or any other means causing such person to be in a state of being unable to resist.
Labour Protection Act, 1998
Section 44. An Employer shall not employ a child under ffteen years of age as an Employee.
Worst Forms of Child Labour
Section 47. An Employer shall not require a young worker under eighteen years of age to work between 22.00 hours and 6.00 hours unless written permission is granted by the Director- General or a person entrusted by the Director-General.
The Employer may require a young worker under eighteen years of age who is a performer in flm, theatre or other similar acts to work during such hours; provided that the Employer shall provide the young worker with proper rest periods.
Section 49. An Employer shall not require a young worker under eighteen years of age to perform any of the following work:
(1) metal smelting, blowing, casting or rolling;
(2) metal pressing;
(3) work involving heat, cold, vibration, noise and light of an abnormal level which may be hazardous as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(4) work involving hazardous chemical substances as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(5) work involving poisonous microorganisms which may be a virus, bacterium, fungus, or any other germs as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(6) work involving poisonous substances, explosive or infammable material, other than work in a fuel service station as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(7) driving or controlling a forkift or a crane as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(8) work using an electic or motor saw;
(9) work that must be done underground, underwater, in a cave, tunnel or mountain shaft;
(10) work involving radioactivity as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations;
(11) cleaning of machinery or engines while in operation;
(12) work which must be done on scaffolding ten metres or more above the ground; or
(13) other work as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.
Section 50. An Employer shall be prohibited to require an Employee who is a youth under eighteen years of age to work in any of the following places:
(1) a slaughterhourse;
(2) a gambling place;
(3) a recreation place in accordance with the law governing recreation places;
(4) any other place as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.
Section 51. An Employer shall be prohibited from demanding or receiving a security deposit for any purpose from a young employee.
The Employer shall be prohibited to pay wages of the young employee to any other person.
Where the Employer pays money and any other beneft to the young employee, the parent or guardian of the young employee or other persons before employment, at the commencement of employment, or before the due time of wage payment in each period, that payment shall not be deemed as the payment or receipt of wages for the young employee. The Employer shall be prohibited to deduct such money or such beneft from the wages to be paid to the young employee in the specifed time.
MINISTRIAL REGULATION NO. 11
B.E. 2541 (1998)
Issued under the Labour Protection Act B.E 2541 (1998)
MINISTERIAL REGULATION NO.6 B.E.2541 (1998)
Issued under the Labour Protection Act B.E.2541 (1998)
Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2008
In this act: “child” means any person less than eighteen years of age.
“Seeks to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Thailand in accordance with international labor standards. Focuses on (a) preventing the worst forms of child labor, (b) rescuing and protecting children from the worst forms of child labor, (c) developing and enforcing relevant laws, (d) enhancing interagency cooperation, and (e) developing management and monitoring systems. In 2017, provided 22,159 migrant children and adults with education access support, including Thai language classes.”
“Seeks to combat the online sexual exploitation of children in Thailand by partnering with the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Enhances the role of the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force by which the RTP can request warrants to search the residences and electronic equipment of individuals in Thailand for child pornography and initiate criminal prosecution.”
Pursuant to Article 5, the provisions of the Convention shall be applicable to the following branches of economic activity: mining and quarrying; manufacturing; construction; electricity; gas and water; sanitary services; transport; storage service and communication; and plantations and other agricultural undertakings mainly producing for commercial purposes, with the exception of family and small-scale holdings producing for local consumption and not regularly employing hired workers.
Governments can take action to assist victims and to prevent and end the perpetration of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour. These actions should be considered in efforts to reduce prevalence and move towards eradication of these forms of exploitation.
Policies for Assistance
Policies for Assistance, General
Policies for Assistance, Human Trafficking
Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2008
Chapter 4 Provisions of Assistance and Protection of Safety to the Trafficked Person of Trafficking in Persons
Chapter 5 The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Victims Fund
Penalties, Human Trafficking
Chapter 6 Penalties
Labour Protection Act, 1998
Section 10. Under Section 51 paragraph one, an Employer shall be prohibited from demanding or receiving from an Employee a security deposit for work or a security deposit for damage to work regardless of money, other property or suretyship by person, unless the nature or conditions of work require the Employee be responsible for money or property belonging to the Employer, which may cause damage to the Employer. The nature or conditions of work which the Employer is allowed to demand or receive a security deposit from the Employee, as well as any type of the security, values of the security and means of keeping shall be in accordance with the rules and procedures as prescribed in the Notifcation by the Minister.
Where the Employer demands or receives the security deposit or makes a guarantee contract with the employee to compensate for damage done by the Employee, when an employment is terminated by the Employer or the resignation is made by the Employee or the guarantee contract is expired, the Employer shall pay back the security thereof plus interests, if any, to the Employee within seven days from the date of termination of employment, or from the date of resignation, or from the expiry date of the guarantee contract, as the case may be.
Section 11. A debt owing by an Employer to be paid under this Act or money to be compensated by the Employer to the Employee Welfare Fund under Section 135, an employee or the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, as the case may be, shall have a preferential right over all properties of the Employer who is a debtor in the same rank as the preferential rights of taxes and duties under the Civil and Commercial Code.”
Beggar Control Act, 2016
“This Act repeals the 1941 Act on Control of Begging. Makes begging in the street an offence.Sections 6 to 12 stipulate the competent authorities to deal with the control of begging and sets out their responsibilities and duties. Section 13 provides that begging is to be prohibited, sets out the definition of begging and provides for exceptions. Makes it an offence to force anyone to beg. Under section 23, all offenses are punishable with imprisonment not exceeding one month and/or a ten thousand baht fine. Penalties for traffickers and those seeking to benefit from begging are more severe: prison sentences of up to three years and fines as high as 30,000 baht. Government officials found complicit face more extreme punishments: up to five years in jail and/or up to 50,000 baht in fines.”
Penal Code, 1956
Penalties, Child Labour
Labour Protection Act, 1998
Section 144. Any Employer who violates or fails to comply with Section 10, Section 22, Section 24, Section 25, Section 26, Section 37, Section 38, Section 39, Section 39/1, Section 40, Section 42, Section 43 Section 46, Section 47, Section 48, Section 49, Section 50, Section 51, Section 61, Section 62, Section 63, Section 64, Section 67, Section 70, Section 71, Secion 72, Section 76, Section 90 paragraph one, or the Ministerial Regulations issued under Section 95, Section 107 or Section 118 paragraph one, or fails to pay special severnace pay in lieu of an advance notice or special severance pay under Section 120, Section 121 or Section 122 shall be penalised with imprisonment of not more than six months, or a fne not exceeding one hundred thousand baht, or both.
Where an Employer violates or fails to comply with Section 37, Section 38, Section 39, Section 39/1, Section 42, Section 47, Section 48, Section 49 or Section 50 thereby causing physical or mental harm to an employee, or causing the death of employee, the Employer shall be penalised with imprisonment of not more than one year or a fne not exceeding two hundred thousand baht, or both.
Labour Protection Act (No. 5), B.E. 2560 .
“Amends sections 144 and 148 of the Act and inserts new sections 148/1 and 148/2 concerning penalties for employers in cases of violation of the Act.”
Measures to address the drivers of vulnerability to exploitation can be key to effective prevention. A broad range of social protections are thought to reduce the likelihood that an individual will be at risk for exploitation, especially when coverage of those protections extends to the most vulnerable groups.
Social Protection Coverage: General (At Least One)
Social Protection (Source: ILO)
The seminal ILO paper on the economics of forced labour, Profits and Poverty, explains the hypothesis that social protection can mitigate the risks that arise when a household is vulnerable to sudden income shocks, helping to prevent labour exploitation. It also suggests that access to education and skills training can enhance the bargaining power of workers and prevent children in particular from becoming victims of forced labour. Measures to promote social inclusion and address discrimination against women and girls may also go a long way towards preventing forced labour.
If a country does not appear on a chart, this indicates that there is no recent data available for the particular social protection visualized.