Uncovered: Trafficking of Thai Teenagers for Elderly Care in China

Elderly Care
The Kunming Immigration Office in Kunming, Yunnan.

KUNMING — A new problem of trafficking Thai teenage girls for elderly care in China has been discussed in the meeting between Thai and Chinese authorities in Kunming, China.

According to Matichon Online, the Central Investigation Bureau sent Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division police to coordinate with Chinese police in Yunnan Province to address human trafficking and call center gang issues. 

On June 23, at the Kunming Immigration Office in Yunnan, China, Pol. Maj. Gen. Saruti Khwaengsopha, Commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, and 30 related Thai police officers met with Pol. Maj. Gen. Kong Yiping, Deputy Commander of Kunming Immigration Office.

The meeting included observing immigration work that uses technology to reduce police workload by about 80%. They also met with various units in Kunming to update on transnational crime suppression.


Previously, Pol. Lt. Gen. Jirapop Phuridej, Commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, ordered anti-trafficking police to coordinate regarding the movement of Thai people into northern Myanmar, which is partly a base for call center gangs causing problems for both Thailand and China.

kunming thai2
The meeting between Thai and Chinese authorities is taken place in Kunming, China on June 23, 2024.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Saruti said China doesn’t have specific anti-trafficking laws, but Thai police consuls are working to keep information updated between the two countries. They have tracked 27 Thai human trafficking suspects hiding in China and are cooperating on cases involving prostitution and the use of teenage labor, with many Thai people illegally working in Kunming.

The use of young Thai female workers is becoming popular among elderly Chinese who hire them for marriage, but some end up abandoned, causing problems that the Thai consulate in Kunming is trying to resolve.

The meeting also involved discussions with the Lancang-Mekong Integrated Law Enforcement and Security Cooperation Center (LMLECC), which coordinates between China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand in preventing and suppressing transnational crimes in the region.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Saruti added that last year, over 300 human trafficking cases were arrested, with 50% involving child prostitution, 30% child pornography, and the rest forced labor and begging.

The cooperation with LMLECC is expected to increase, which is crucial as the Mekong River is often used for human trafficking and call center operations.

Jiang Shui, Deputy Secretary-General of LMLECC, stated that since its establishment, LMLECC has helped reduce crime significantly. He emphasized the importance of the Mekong River as a trade route and called for Thai officials to join their operations for standardized practices, which would benefit regional economic growth and international trade.