PAK KRED, 4 June 2012 (IRIN) – In an impoverished town in Thailand near the border with Myanmar, a trafficker offered a desperate Burmese widow 5,000 baht (US$160) on the spot, followed by an additional 4,000 baht ($120) per month for two of her 10 children to sell flowers in the Thai capital, Bangkok. The rent-a-child deal was to last three months, after which the boys would return home.
But the deadline passed and the monthly payments stopped. After another three months the older brother, 10-year-old Ongsi, ran away and managed to make his way home to tell his mother they had to return to the capital to rescue 8-year-old Siyathon from a life of late-night flower selling and beatings.
Their case is not unusual. Across the city of more than 10 million, little Burmese vendors sell flowers and Cambodian children beg money from motorists, tourists and bar crawlers.
“Most of these children are not Thai,” said Witanapat Rutanavaleepong, who manages the Stop Child Begging project for the Mirror Foundation, a leading Thai NGO that has become a focal point for child trafficking.
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