With its friendly people and magnificent scenery, Thailand, known as the “Land of a Thousand Smiles”, possesses a rich culture, with a mix of strong Indian influences, Chinese traditions, and elements that come uniquely from the ethnic Thai people. Many of the traditions and beliefs of the people in Thailand stem directly from Buddhist principles; Hinduism has also made important contributions to Thai culture, and the close links between Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature, and in many customs.
The population of Thailand in 2012 was recorded at 66.8 million. The country ranks 103 out of 185 in the Human Development Index of 2012. Despite facing a number of political challenges, Thailand has made great progress in social and economic issues. As such, Thailand has been one of the great development success stories, with sustained strong growth and impressive poverty reduction.
of Thailand's 7.3 million poor live in rural areas
Marquet’s artisan collective employs over one hundred crafts people, and offers both full-time and part-time opportunities. They also offer the opportunity to work from home
FROM THAILAND: MEET THE ARTISAN
Marquet employs over one hundred Akha craftspeople who are indigenous to Southeast Asia and live throughout countries including Thailand. Their mission is to empower these artisans and help them reach a larger audience. They offer both full-time and part-time opportunities at their central and highly productive workshop, which provides a great social environment where the sound of laughter is abundant, as artisans are happy to come work together in a relaxed and fun setting. The artisans also have the opportunity to work from home, which allows maximum flexibility for the artisans to work around their own schedules and other personal or family commitments.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
Unlike with the economic situation, the government has made little progress over the past years in resolving persistent human rights problems in the country. The most persistent human rights problems include abuses by government security forces and local defense volunteers in southern Thailand in the context of the continuing Muslim separatist insurgency; excessive use of force by security forces; and continued government limits on freedoms of speech and press. Other human rights problems include poor prison and detention facility conditions; government limits on freedom of assembly; insufficient protection for vulnerable populations, including refugees; violence and discrimination against women; sex tourism; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities, minorities, hill tribe members, and foreign migrant workers; child labor; etc.
While women were granted equality with men in the new constitution of 1997, gender equality across the country is still a challenge. In practice, discrimination is still present and women are highly under-represented, are mistreated at home and discriminated at work. Additionally, domestic violence and sex trafficking is still a prevalent problem among women and children. Sex trafficking became extremely prevalent in Thailand during the time of the Vietnam War and has remained a commercial industry ever since in Thailand.