U.S. Department of State 2001 Trafficking in Persons Report - Laos

Laos (Tier 2)

Laos is a source country for trafficking in persons, primarily young women, although some young men also are victims. Nearly all are trafficked to Thailand, although a small number of persons are trafficked to China. An estimated 20,000 Lao enter Thailand annually, willingly crossing the border seeking employment based on deceptive claims of recruiters, but many are held in indentured and coercive work situations, primarily for sexual exploitation or in sweat shops, once they arrive.

The Government of Laos does not yet fully meet the minimum standards; however, the Government has taken some steps to stop trafficking despite significant resource constraints. The Government devotes resources to protection of children and has established a team in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to attempt to prevent trafficking. There is no law that specifically prohibits trafficking although there are laws against procuring, kidnapping, and slavery. Enforcement as with most laws in Laos is uneven due to poor training. At times repatriated trafficked victims are given re-education in their localities when they return; however, at other times, the government prosecutes them for illegal departures.


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