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Diplomacy in Action

FY 12: The Impact of Statelessness on Women in Thailand With a Focus On Legal Empowerment and Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
September 20, 2013


This research is ongoing. The final report will be posted upon completion.


UNHCR estimates there are 12 million stateless people worldwide, of which a large number are in Southeast Asia. Stateless populations in Southeast Asia face a number of protection risks including vulnerability to human trafficking. For that reason, PRM funded Tilburg University to research the impact of statelessness on hill tribe women in Thailand. In particular, the project will measure the impact of statelessness on the legal empowerment of women, through the use of quantitative and qualitative methods that have already proven successful in other humanitarian contexts. The research will be disseminated in order to inform future studies on the relationship between statelessness and legal empowerment. UNHCR has expressed interest in replicating this methodology in other countries with large stateless populations.


  • Adapt an established research methodology to assess the impact of statelessness on the legal empowerment and vulnerability to trafficking of women in Thailand;
  • Develop and implement survey methodology to capture data on subjective legal empowerment for specific problems relevant to the vulnerability of stateless women to trafficking;
  • Develop a framework for further assessment of the impact of statelessness on women in Southeast Asia, with a view to expanding this research to Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The results of this research will be disseminated widely to global and regional stakeholders involved in preventing and responding to statelessness including relevant Thai Ministries, Thai research institutes, UNHCR, and local/international NGOs.


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