Child labour on Obama agenda

Child labour on Obama agenda

Somsak Paneetatyasa, president of the Thai Shrimp Association, Wednesday welcomed the initiative of the government to bring up the use of child labour in the shrimp industry at talks on Sunday between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and US President Barack Obama.

It would be an opportunity for the Thai side to clarify the practice of local shrimp industry to the US leader, he said. 

Washington is considering whether to downgrade Thailand, the top exporter of shrimp to the US market, to Tier 3 from Tier 2 Watch List for Human Trafficking after a documentary reported the use of child migrants in the shrimp processing industry.

The Samut Sakhon provincial office registered 337,665 migrant labourers in the province as of September 2011, about 310,000 of whom were from Myanmar, while the rest were from Laos and Cambodia.

However, the LPN, a non-governmental organisation assisting migrant labourers in the province, estimates the actual number at over 400,000 including unregistered migrant workers. It said it estimates there are about 15,000 children below 15, and 40,000 between 15 and 18.

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