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Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The Lives of Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand

Author(s): T. M. Caouette

This report discusses the experiences of young adults who undertake migration across the boarder between China, Myanmar and Thailand. Qualitative research tools used include direct and participatory observations, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and participatory rapid appraisal. The research was divided into four phases: project preparation, data collection, analysis, reporting and consultation on the project findings, and dissemination of research findings. The study demonstrates that the majority of cross-border migrants are young, come from rural areas and have little or no formal education. Young people begin migrating on their own at the age of about thirteen. And although some children under thirteen do migrate on their own, most of them are accompanied by their parents or relatives. In terms of factors influencing the decision-making process, the participants have given various explanations, for example economic survival, war, refuge, government policies, personal problems and perceived opportunities abroad. It was also observed that the actual jobs available to migrants are very gender-specific. Migrant girls and women seek jobs in factories, shops and restaurants, sex work, the entertainment industry or as domestic workers, whereas male migrants find jobs in the fishing and agricultural industries, or as manual day labourers. The report provides further insight into the difficulties that young migrants face, e.g. health problems, inability to attend school and exploitive forms of child labour. Based on these findings, the author suggests a number of interventions and advocacy strategies to improve the living conditions of young migrants workers, such as empowering migrant children through education and training, securing channels for safe return and reintegration into their home countries and promoting efforts to influence policies and practices that will protect and serve migrant children and youth.

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Document information

Author(s): T. M. Caouette

Organisation/publisher:

Save the Children UK

Published:

01/01/2002

Main theme(s):

Independent Child Migration Migration with Families

Sub-theme(s): South - South

Tertiary theme(s): Economic Rural - Rural Rural - Urban

Link to resource:

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Download file:

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Keywords: Country - China Country - Myanmar Country - Thailand Decision-making Education Gender Health Policy Trafficking

Type:

Document Report