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Sudarat Musikawong：Precarious Rights: trafficking in (im)migrant workers lives
朝向亞際平等共享社會系列 / Series ofToward an Equal and Sharing Inter-Asian Society
Topic： Precarious Rights: trafficking in (im)migrant workers lives
Date: 2018.10.Dec（Won.） 15：00-17：00
Venue ：NCTU, HA2 Building, Room 106A
Speaker: Sudarat Musikawong, Associate Professor of Sociology (Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University, Thailand)
Speaker's Bio :
Sudarat Musikawong is associate professor of sociology at the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University in Thailand. She received her Ph.D. and MA in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. As an ethnographer, Dr. Musikawong's work connects macro-socio-economic historical conditions, social political national circumstances, migration, and cultural production. Her long-term research goals are to develop methodologies and theoretical frameworks that provide connections between these often-divergent research agendas between the social sciences and humanities. Her publications include “On Thai Transnationalisms: Political and Economic Subjectivity,” Manusaya: Journal of Humanities (2009), with Chanchanit Martorell, “The Importance of Ethnic Competency: Labor Trafficking, Thai Migrations, and the Thai Community Development Center,” Asian American Pacific Islander Nexus (Spring 2012), “Transnational Farmworker,” a short essay in Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013), with attorney Panida Rzonca, “Debt Bondage Scales of Intensity: Thai Overseas Agricultural Workers in the United States” (2017) National Asian Pacific Bar Association: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.napaba.org/resource/resmgr/2017_napaba_con/Call_for_Programs/CLEs/CLE_106.pdf. Currently she is working with her co-authors on an International Labour Organization research report on the working conditions of agricultural migrant workers in Thailand. Her practitioner publications are part of her next long-term project, titled Precarious Rights: trafficking in migrant workers lives. It is a five-year project based on fieldwork comparing migrant workers strategies toward "justice" ---labor, residency, and human rights in the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Precarious Rights：trafficking in (im)migrant workers lives
Sudarat Musikawong began examining Thai migrant workers by working with a Los Angeles based community based organization gathering interviews on a labor trafficking case involving over 2000 farmworkers in the United States in 2005. Most Thai international migrant workers in the case were from agricultural rural areas. Between 2010 to 2015, the case of Thai workers in the US revealed the significant limitations of justice claims in the US criminal and civil courts. Was the limitation necessarily unique to such North American contexts? Herein, Asian country cases with stronger civil society and labor movements present important comparisons and lessons for how noncitizens wage labor and human rights claims. She followed the migration of Thai workers to other Asian countries. Most Thai migrant contract jobs in Asia were specifically to South Korea (through the Employment Permit System) and Taiwan (Guest Worker Program). Burdened by debt economies at home, Thai migrants were leaving to Asian countries that were highly industrialized to of course earn money, but their labor essentially contributed to various receiving countries’ economic growth. When faced with labor violations, justice claims are challenged by legal status and deportation, language barriers, lack of union power despite of legal structure, and a lack of transnational justice mechanisms for post-departure violation claims. In short, precarious economies, legal status, and working conditions are the structuring forces that limited the noncitizens negotiation power for labor and human rights claims. The talk will be based on the introduction to her book, Precarious Rights：trafficking in (im)migrant workers lives.
 Many migrant workers seek work due to the burden of various debts: household debt due to family spending under higher costs of living (including higher educational costs) accompanied by household under-employment or unemployment; debt due to property buying, various entrepreneurial projects; and household health care costs.
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