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Children play in a village built from shipping containers that house migrant workers on the outskirts of Bangkok. About 700 people live in the settlement's 120 metal boxes. (Photo by Akira Kodaka) 
Life

Migrant workers in Thailand live harsh, but improving, reality

Bangkok takes legal steps to retain vital laborers from neighboring countries

YUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer and AKIRA KODAKA, Nikkei staff photographer | Thailand

BANGKOK -- The clusters of yellow shipping containers sitting on a bleak parcel of land on the dusty outskirts of Bangkok are a symbol of Thailand's growing dependence on migrant workers.

Children play among the containers, shouting in Cambodian and Thai. The makeshift village in the city's Bangphlat district is home to around 700 migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. In the evening, trucks bring sweaty workers, men and women, back from their jobs on construction sites.

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