Health and human trafficking in the Mekong

A new report describes findings from the Study on Trafficking, Exploitation and Abuse in the Mekong Sub-region (STEAM). In this landmark study, researchers interviewed men, women and children involved in post-trafficking services in order to understand the health risks and physical and psychological consequences of trafficking.

The STEAM study was implemented by LSHTM and International Organisation for Migration (IOM). As the Lancet paper describes, the  study was designed to fill critical gaps in knowledge about the health risks and consequences of human trafficking.

STEAM’s findings help the field to:

  •  measure the prevalence and patterns of health outcomes
  • describe health risk factors associated with migrant labour exploitation
  • learn about experiences at each stages: recruitment, exploitation, post-trafficking

This report offers rare quantitative findings about patterns of abuse, risks, occupational hazards and health consequences. It concludes with detailed and operational recommendations to states in the region.

Overall, the report recommends that the Greater Mekong sub-region:

  • recognize human trafficking as a health issue
  • recognize the health rights of people who have been trafficked

The report was launched in Bangkok on 27 February 2015.

Read the report here.

Read or download the Lancet paper – “Health of men, women, and children in post-trafficking services in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam: an observational cross-sectional study” – here.

STEAM participant demographics

The 1,102 participants included 637 females (57.8%), 465 men (42.2%) and 387 youth (35.1%) between ages 10 and 17. Participants’ home countries were:

  • Viet Nam (35.2%)
  • Cambodia (28.3%)
  • Thailand (14.2%)
  • Myanmar (11.6%)
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic (10.5%)
  • China (0.1%)

The largest proportion of the participants were receiving services in Thailand (40.3%), followed by Viet Nam (35.3), then Cambodia (24.4%).

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