University of Sussex
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Adolescent migrant worker experiences and attitudes about child labour in Samut Sakhon, Thailand

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posted on 2023-06-09, 04:27 authored by Kamonwan Roengsumran
This thesis explores how adolescent migrant workers are encouraged to and limited in expressing their attitudes about child labour, economic and non-economic activities, and the prevention of exploitation. This study investigates the process of sharing attitudes about those concepts among adolescent migrants and among NGOs, community leaders, and adolescent migrant workers. It also considers the benefits of the sharing of attitudes from the perspective of adolescent migrants. On the basis of the integration of qualitative research methods, this research was conducted with adolescent migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand over five months in 2015-2016. This research relies on 9 case studies and inputs from 16 focus group participants (between 17 and 19 years of age) and 10 interviews with officials from Thai schools and NGOs, community leaders, and staff of learning centres. Study findings indicate that contexts in which there are biases, power relations, and particular cultures of expression influence opportunities for adolescent migrants to share attitudes. Networks of supporters in the community increase opportunities for the sharing of experiences and attitudes. This study also reveals the ability of adolescent migrants to respond to the limited opportunities to share attitudes through processes of self-adaptation, selection of space and activities, and the creation of personal tactics, which vary according to circumstances. Although there are agencies sharing information about child labour and its prevention, adolescent migrant workers more often learn to manage work relationships and to prevent being exploited through practical experience in the workplace. However, adolescent migrant workers benefit from participation in self-help groups. Engagement in self-help groups develops trust with self-defined ‘supporters’ and leads to opportunities for young people to communicate with one another. The development of communication skills, relationships, and self-adaptation among adolescent migrants are enhanced through involvement in self-help groups. However, the focus group method used in this study is another option to enhance understanding of the process of sharing attitudes. In this study, young respondents are provided with the opportunity to learn about the process of sharing attitudes and the benefits of this process through participation in focus group discussions. The increased level of adolescent migrants’ confidence, derived from contact with outsiders and engagement in focus group discussions, may lead to experiences of sharing attitudes in the future. Concerning the benefits of attitudes contributing to the unity of community, I propose that cooperation with multi-agencies in the community will increase engagement in the process of sharing attitudes and experiences among adolescent migrants and bring about positive changes in the community. The quality of shared attitudes among adolescent migrants will improve, and hidden issues in the community will be exposed, leading to more effective social policies that reduce child exploitation and raise awareness of social exclusion.


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  • International Development Theses

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  • masters

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  • mphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

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