How women migrants in Thailand are stopping trafficking and gender-based violence in their communities

By: Younghwa Choi and Kohnwilai Teppunkoonngam   Posted on 2021-07-30

“Migration empowered me and made me who I am today,” explains San May Khine, a Project Officer with the Education and Identify Project at the MAP Foundation in Thailand. Born and raised in Myanmar, Khine became a domestic worker in Thailand at the age of 14.

“I was the youngest child in my family, and I wanted to help my parents. Back then, I earned 3,500 Thai Baht (about USD 100) per month. I was excited to have that money for me and my family in Myanmar,” she explains.

“However, the working environment was exploitative. I had to work for a whole day without any leave or proper care as a child. But I did not know I had rights, so I did not even think of claiming them.”

After being a domestic worker for two years, Khine worked in various fields, including on an orchid farm and at a construction site. “I gained more freedom as I earned more money. This was not possible without the support of the good people that I have met in Thailand.”

Finding strength in adversity

Migration can empower female migrant workers financially and help build their confidence. But, away from family and established community networks, many women struggle to find support when they need it. Khine found that the strength she gained through her migration experience allowed her to leave her abusive husband, and realized that she wanted to support others in her migrant community to also break free of gender-based violence.




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