Located in Samut Sakon, Thailand, the Labor Rights Promotion Network (LPN) is a grassroots organization founded in 2006 to promote the integration of migrant workers and their families into Thai society. Since 2008, CRDR faculty member Courtland Robinson, along with a number of MPH students, has been working with LPN to implement a study of trafficking and forced labor among Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. “There are more than one million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand,” Courtland said, “most of whom crossed the border without documentation and are living in a kind of shadowland. Working in Thai farms and factories, they are at risk of deportation and vulnerable to many kinds of threats and exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous brokers, employers, and sometimes law enforcement as well.” LPN works to develop mechanisms for protection of rights and redress for victims of violations, build capacity among migrant worker networks, and promote education among migrant workers and their families, including the right to health, safe work, education and social services.
The study, for which Courtland Robinson serves as principal investigator, was funded by the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and has three specific aims:
1. To use ethnographic research methods to develop a survey instrument to measure risks associated with trafficking and forced labor.
2. To obtain a sample of Burmese migrant workers in the seafood processing industry in Samut Sakhon using an adaptive sampling method, Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS), in order to estimate the prevalence of labor rights violations in the migrant worker population, and
3. To collaborate with LPN, UNIAP, and other Thai and international organizations to disseminate results in order to improve local community interventions and broader advocacy efforts.