In Thailand, thousands of migrant children live on makeshift construction camp sites.
These kids are highly vulnerable, at risk every day of abuse and being trafficked.
According to the Global Slavery Index, in Thailand, 610,000 people are victims of trafficking.
Specifically migrants coming into Thailand from places like Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia to work on construction sites remain at increased risk. Their children, even more.
Because of this, Lifesong Thailand is committed to helping vulnerable children … like Dani.
This is Dani’s story in her own words—
Born and raised in Cambodia, Dani’s earliest memories involve struggle.
When Dani was just four years old, her dad left the family, and her mom went, in search of work, to Thailand. Her story isn’t unusual. According to estimates, 1.7 million to 2 million Cambodian migrants live in Thailand today, because jobs in Thailand are more prevalent.
Left in Cambodia with her grandmother, Dani spent her mornings going to school and her afternoons harvesting mangoes, so they could make ends meet.
“I was so tired, but we needed the money.”
Dani’s mom loved her and wanted to be with her. So as soon as she could, she brought Dani to live in Thailand. But after only four days it was clear she couldn’t stay on the campsite. Dani explains—
“I lived with fear and worry. I usually didn’t go outside … afraid I might be trafficked.”
Migrant children like Dani living in camps on construction sites in Thailand face multiple ongoing threats and challenges. Here are just four among many—
1. Weak Infrastructure
Lack of clean facilities—including bathrooms and sleeping quarters separated by gender—leave children at constant risk for physical and sexual abuse.
One report said, “Families live in refashioned containers or flimsy shacks of tin and plywood at the sites, with poor sanitation and limited access to potable water.”
2. Inadequate Health Care
Most migrant children living on construction sites are unable to receive access to basic health services. Yet, due to the dangerous environments and cramped conditions, they actually live with an increased risk of accident, illness, or disease.
3. Poor Nutrition
Migrant children either beg for food on the streets or rely on the meager income of their caregivers to provide nutrition, leading to high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition.
4. Limited Education
Frequent moves, lack of understanding the language, and an inability to pay for school means most migrant children do not attend school.
Migrant children spend most of their time unsupervised on construction sites while parents or caregivers work from early in the morning until late at night, leaving these children especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation and child labor.
And many of them grow up knowing nothing about Jesus or His love for them.
Dani was at risk of being one of these children.
Reaching Migrant Children in Thailand
Since 2012, our ministry partners in Thailand have worked closely with local Christ-followers and churches in Thailand and Cambodia to reach orphans as well as vulnerable children living on construction sites at risk of being trafficked.
In Thailand, our team works closely with a local pastor to fulfill the mission and provide education, discipleship, and holistic Gospel-centered care for children in multiple ways:
1. Learning Center
Every day, our Thai and Khmer staff run an education program for our kids. In the morning, the kids are led in a Bible study, prayer, and worship. The rest of their day is spent learning important life skills and attending classes.
Weekly, the students learn English, Thai, Khmer, math, art, music, and soccer. Volunteers often come to teach special classes such as financial literacy and computer skills.
2. Outreach Events on Construction Sites
Our teammates hold regular outreach events and weekly worship services on construction camp sites, sharing the good news of the Gospel and helping migrant families however possible.
3. Church Home
Our team cares full-time for approximately 30 children on the church property who are unable to go home or back to the campsite for various reasons. These children receive holistic, Christ-centered care, safe housing, nutritious food, and a good education.
Dani’s mom heard about the church from a friend and, believing it was the best decision, Dani’s mom brought her to stay at the church home.
Bringing her to the church also meant they would be able to see each other often and Dani would be safe. In Dani’s words—
“The moment I knew I wouldn’t be trafficked is when I felt loved by them.”
The Heartbeat of Lifesong Thailand
Gospel discipleship is at the heart of everything we do in Thailand.
From the first day a child joins the program, they are taught about the love and hope of Jesus. They participate in daily BIble studies, sing worship songs, and learn how to pray. Students are taught how to study the Bible on their own and in small groups as soon as they are old enough to read.
As the students grow, they’e taught to lead their classmates in worship and prayer, to give testimonies of what God has done, and to share their faith with others during outreach events.
“Even though my father from this world left me, I see that God is my Father. God sees me, loves me, and knows me.”
How Dani is Doing Today
It took Dani about one week with our team to realize she was safe and loved. She no longer needed to worry about drunk older men outside her door or wonder if she would be trafficked.
That was nearly six years ago. She says—
“Here, they teach us and take good care of us. Now, I feel safe. And this feels like home.”
Today, Dani helps lead worship and participates in regular outreach in the community. She is growing in her confidence and loves sharing her faith with new friends and children she meets.
Your Part in this Story
Dani’s life would look incredibly different without people like you who pray and give to support.
Dani is seen, known, and loved. She is safe, and she has a bright future.
But there are many more orphaned or vulnerable kids like Dani still waiting. In Dani’s words—
“There are still other children out there like me, people who need to be rescued. And I want to share what I have received from God with them.”
Give to help orphaned and vulnerable children know they are seen, known, and loved.
100% of your gift to Lifesong directly helps children in need. TMG Foundation and key partners cover our fundraising and administrative costs, so your entire gift goes where you want it to go.