VIENTIANE, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Lao and Thai representatives have met in northern Lao city Luang Prabang, discussing issues related to the export of Lao labor to Thailand, the Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Thursday.
The two countries are speeding up the inspection and legalization of informal Lao workers to tackle human trafficking and labor exploitation, said the report.
"We have signed an MoU that establishes mechanisms, proper measures for the protection and management of Lao workers in Thailand and we expect that its actual implementation will be done in the near future," Acting Director of the Labor Skills and Employment Department of the Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare Anousone Khamsingsavath said,
"Thailand is ready to extend support and facilitate the legalisation of Lao workers' status, which is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2018," Director of the Employment Department, Ministry of Labor of Thailand Varanon Pitiwan said at the meeting,
Like other countries in the Mekong sub-region, the Lao demography is prevalently composed of youth and job opportunities are limited. Legal labor migration opportunities are scarce, forcing people to seek other channels and become undocumented migrants, or informal workers, especially in Thailand.
Data show that there are about 300,000 undocumented Lao migrants in Thailand. Undocumented workers are extremely vulnerable and statistics of case files demonstrate a clear link between illegal migration and human trafficking.