Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The lives of migrant children and youth along the borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand

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Save the Children International,Save the Children UK

The results of a participatory action research project to identify how best to help migrant children deal with the problems they face. Over the past ten years, the borders between China, Myanmar and Thailand have seen the largest flow of migrants in decades. Though many acknowledge the growing numbers of children and youth migrating and/or their families, there is little awareness as to their concerns and needs, with extremely few interventions undertaken to reach out to them. The interviews in this study reveal extensive debt-bondage, sexual abuse, illegal confinement, confiscation of documents, arrest and extortion, forced overtime, few basic resources and poor living conditions that were overcrowded, insecure and often violent. Sexual abuse was commonly reported among girls and young women, particularly among those involved in sex work and domestic service.This publication provides recommendations to address the critical issues faced by migrant children and youth along the borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand, including: methods of working with migrant youth; effective interventions; strategies for advocacy; identification of vulnerable populations; and critical issues requiring further research.

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