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Desperate for Work: Burmese Migrants in the Thai Fishing Industry

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Burmese fishermen waiting to head out on the Mekong River. Image by Jesse Hardman. Thailand, 2011.

The southeast Asian country of Burma may be best known for its repressive government, but it also has one of the world’s lowest per capita incomes.

Government controls, inefficient financial policies and corruption have stalled the Burmese economy, sending a flood of workers East, looking for a better life. There are two to three million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, according to Thai government estimates. Most find work in garment factories, constructions sites, and farms. One of the best paying but most dangerous jobs for men is in the fishing industry.

Jesse Hardman talks with Latitudes on WAMU about the story.