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Defending the Most Vulnerable

Imagine what life would be like if no country claimed you. Half of the members of northern Thailand’s hill tribes lack documentation of the Thai citizenship that is their legal right, due to a complex, unresponsive and prejudiced justice system.

Without this documentation, they cannot work or attend school, cannot travel freely and are often denied access to medical care. Because no justice system defends them, hill tribe women and girls without citizenship documentation are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking and other forms of violence.

With or without citizenship, children also face a high risk of sexual violence, and impoverished families who cannot afford lawyers may find it impossible to get justice and protection. IJM’s office in Chiang Mai defends these vulnerable groups.

IJM opened an office in 2017 in Bangkok to work with authorities as they respond to another massive need—men, women and children enslaved in the seafood industry.

“Some people think citizenship is just a plastic card – but in reality, those without that card don’t have a life.”

Khem Saksakunmongkhon IJM Thailand Field Office Director​​

Since 2000, IJM Chiang Mai has assisted more than 22,500 hill tribe members to receive documentation of their citizenship rights or elevated legal status.

IJM's Chiang Mai team is led by Khem Saksakunmongkhon—a hill tribe member who was the first person from his village to graduate high school and the second person from his tribe to become a lawyer.

In IJM Bangkok’s first case, Thai authorities found a Cambodian national guilty of trafficking five Cambodian nationals into forced labor in the Thai fishing industry.

IJM Bangkok partners closely with IJM’s team in Cambodia to tackle labor trafficking in the Thai fishing industry from both sides of the Thai-Cambodian border.

Our Teams in Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Field Office Director: Khem Saksakunmongkhon
Established: 2000
Focus: Citizenship Rights Abuse

download the fact sheet

Bangkok, Thailand

Field Office Director: Andrey Sawchenko
Deputy Field Office Director: Andrew Wasuwongse
Established: 2017
Focus: Labor Trafficking

download the fact sheet
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Help victims of citizenship rights abuse today.

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