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Informal and Illegal Movement in the Upper Greater Mekong Subregion

Lynn Thiesmeyer


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Cross-border migration and trafficking are, once again, the focus of intense scrutiny in Southeast Asia. There is a very rapidly increasing number and frequency of informally and illegally migrating persons and the goods they transport and consume. The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), whose inter-country borders are almost entirely land or river boundaries, sees the daily crossing of tens or even hundreds of thousands of people and goods, most of them for reasons of economy and employment. These people and their goods were, until recently, part of long-standing upland border communities and upland cultivation. The loss of sustainable agricultural livelihoods has been an important push factor resulting in their informal and illegal movement, and the movement of the goods they transport. Equally important to this mobility are the pull factors of growing low-wage employment in small-scale manufacturing, construction, and transport of goods. Further, this informal movement is no longer i...

© Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine, 2010

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