This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Illegal Immigrants Being Treated Illegally

The United States and Europe are not the only areas of the world in which illegal immigration occurs. Thailand, as it turns out, may have as many as two million illegal immigrants--about the same number as it has legal immigrants, according to a story in this week's Economist. 
Most of the immigrants are from neighbouring Myanmar; others are from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and further afield. Undocumented workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Smuggled into the country by unscrupulous brokers, they are sold into factory and other low-end jobs in ways that can amount to debt bondage.
The Economist reports that these migrants are helping to keep the economy afloat. That might seem strange for a country with 70 million people, but in fact the birth rate in Thailand is now below replacement level creating a demographic fit with sending countries who have higher birth rates and worse economies. Of course, the other problem is that it is typically harder to get away with abusing your fellow citizens than it is to put strangers into unspeakable situations.

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