Thailand accounts for about 90 per cent of the human trafficking from neighbouring Laos, with girls aged 12 to 18 making up a majority of the victims, state media reported Tuesday.
Leik Boonwaat, representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to Laos, said it was estimated that some 35 per cent of the Lao nationals trafficked to Thailand end up in prostitution, the Vientiane Times reported.
Another 32 per cent end up in forced labour, 17 per cent work in factories and 4 per cent on fishing boats, the report said.
The UN official said an estimated 200,000 to 450,000 people are trafficked annually in the Greater Mekong sub-region, which includes southern China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the countries joined by the Mekong River.
The UN office estimates were made at a seminar held Monday in Vientiane with the Justice Ministry to assess the progress of a joint project to combat human trafficking in the impoverished, land-locked country.
“Since October 2006, the ministry has worked alongside UNODC to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice institutions, including the judiciary and government law enforcement bodies, to prevent and combat human trafficking and related forms of organised crime in Laos,” the state-run Vientiane Times reported.