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The gendered dynamics of trafficking in persons across Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand

Research report

Written by Abigail Hunt, Maria Quattri, Georgia Plank

Hero image description: A woman on a construction site in Patayya, Thailand Image credit:©ILO/Emmanuel Maillard

Trafficking in persons is prevalent across the Greater Mekong subregion: annually, an estimated 451,000 migrants from Myanmar, 55,000 from Cambodia and 44,000 from Lao PDR are smuggled into Thailand. It is estimated that between 4% and 23% of these undocumented migrants could be victims of trafficking.

The widespread occurrence of trafficking in persons in the region has not led to a greater understanding of the specific gendered experiences of those affected. Relatively little is known about the extent to which initiatives aimed at prevention, return and response, and reintegration are gender responsive. This report aims to fill these gaps by bringing a wide-ranging literature and policy review together with primary qualitative data to provide insights into how gender and trafficking intersect across Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. 

This UN Women report is based on a review and mapping exercise carried out by the Overseas Development Institute, in partnership with Legal Support for Children and Women in Cambodia, and Socio-Economic and Gender Resource Institute in Myanmar. The report identifies priorities for future policy and programming and also presents a series of recommendations centred around cross-cutting issues: prevention; response and return; and reintegration.

Abigail Hunt, Maria Quattri, Briana Mawby, Georgia Plank and Shan-non Phillip, with Sokchar Mom, Khin Zar Naing and Sanda Thant