In-depth Study on Border Economic Zones and Migration

In July 2008, MMN organised a workshop entitled Migrants, Migration and Development, during which issues relating to border economic zones (BEZs) and migration were brought up. Subsequently, at the MMN General Conference, members decided to carry out collaborative research on the impact BEZs were having on migration and the lives of migrants. The research focused on two aspects: first, it mapped out the political, economic, and social situations of countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS); and second, it looked in depth at how BEZs affect migration patterns and the rights and welfare of migrant workers. The research findings and evidence-based recommendations were published in a report entitled Resource Book Vol. 4: Migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region; In-depth study: Border Economic Zones and Migration (2012).

MMN Project Partners


  • Ms. Ly Vichuta, Mr. Mom Sokchar, Mr. Dul Ravy, from Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW)
  • Mr. Chhorn Ann, Ms. Meach Sotheary, Mr. Som Sen, and Mr. Chan Dara, from Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD)
  • Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM)-Cambodia
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization (KKHRO)


  • Ms. Jialing Han and Ms. Xiaoying Cui, from the Migrant Workers Education and Action Research Centre
  • Ms. Wei Tang and Mr. Mingming Xiang, from Society of Strengthening Capability of Women and Community Development in Yunnan

Lao PDR 

  • Ms. Kabmanivanh Phouxay, Mr. Phouth Simmalavong, Mr. Dexanourath Senedouangdeth, Mr. Boualamthong Onetavong, Mr. Kenchanh Sinsamphanh, Mr. Bounthavy Sosamphansay, Mr Phombouth Sadachith and Ms. Oulavanh Sinsamphanh from the Faculty of Social Sciences, National University of Laos (NUOL)
  • Ms. Vilaythone Sounthonxaymongkhoune, from the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Home Affairs


  • Ms. Huynh Thi Ngoc Tuyet, Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Chau, from the Center for Research and Consultancy for Development (CRCD)-Southern Institute of Sustainable Development (SISD)
  • Mr. Le Thanh Sang, from the Southern Institute of Sustainable Development (SISD)
  • Ms. Le Thi My Huong, from the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Ho Chi Minh City Open University
  • Ms. Vo Thi Kim Phuong, from the Black & Veatch International (BVI)


  • Ms. Jackie Pollock, Ms. Pradittha Pariyakaewfar, Ms. Sathita Nor Pho and Ms. Reena Arora, from MAP Foundation
  • Ms. Liz Hilton, Ms. Lek and Ms. Wi, from Empower
  • Mr. Adisorn Keadmongkol and Ms. Bussayarut Kanchanadith, from the Peaceway Foundation
  • Mr. Bandith Panviset, from the Friends of Women Foundation
  • Mr. Suthorn Mingnan, from Pattanarak
  • Ms. Wanna Butsein, from Raks Thai
  • Mr. Satien Than Phrom, from the Foundation for AIDS Rights (FAR)
  • Mr. Myint Wai, from the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma
  • Ms. Nucharee Srivirojana, from the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University
  • Ms. Chidchanok Samantrakool

Key Activities

In July 2008, MMN and project partners jointly decided to conduct research on issues relating to border economic zones and migration. At the first and second research consultation meetings held in July and October 2008 respectively, project partners collectively designed and strategised the research and formed country research teams (CRTs) in each country in the GMS. CRTs then conducted interviews with migrants working in border regions, BEZs, as well as special economic zones (SEZs), and carried out key informant interviews with business representatives, government officials, village leaders, and SEZ administrators. 

A third consultation was then held in July-August 2009, where CRTs presented their research findings and their draft country chapter. Research gaps were identified in all the country research findings and the CRTs agreed to conduct additional interviews and subsequently revise their draft chapters. The follow-up interviews were conducted in selected areas and further secondary research was carried out between 2010 and 2011. The publication Resource Book Vol. 4: Migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region; In-depth study: Border Economic Zones and Migration (2012) was published in 2012.

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