Laos' labor and social welfare authorities say they plan to create and find some 108,000 jobs during 2008 to meet the demand of their labor force, adding that 83,000 jobs will be created domestically while 25,000 will be found in neighboring countries, especially Thailand which has signed an agreement with Laos to provide employment to thousands of Lao workers a year.
The two government had hoped that with such an agreement they will be able to prevent labor trafficking and reduce the number of illegal Lao workers in Thailand. But Yong Chanthalangsy, Laos' Foreign Ministry spokesman says it is impossible to stop the smuggling of illegal workers into Thailand because it is not an organized crime of a big scale. He says it is hard to detect when only two or three are smuggled across the Mekong at a time.
Lao middlemen are reportedly paid between 5,000 and 7,000 Bahts for each worker they hand over to Thai middlemen who receive a high percentage of the worker's wage as their fee.
Lao officials also hope their ongoing comprehensive rural development program to eradicate poverty across the country will help minimize the problem, as more and more villages are lifted out of poverty. Meanwhile, the government announced receipt of a $15 million aid from the World Bank as part of its contribution to the Poverty Eradiction Fund, its third since the Fund was created and the program launched in 2002.
Laos hope to eradicate poverty and lift itself out of the least-developed country status by 2020.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.