Thailand, or as it’s popularly known “The land of smiles,” has many facets which are enjoyed by the masses. Seen as the ultimate backpacker’s haven, this beautiful and diverse country can venture on pandemonium at its best, and depression at its worst. Bangkok is unlike any other place on Earth, with its impressive nightlife, restaurants, and accelerating vibe. Islands such as Phuket tend to redefine for many travellers the social rules of normalcy, the view of what’s acceptable and the extent to which some people are forced to go, in order to feed their families. The land of smiles is but a facade for many Thai’s who face a grim reality- the prostitution, sex trafficking, drug dealing and child labour are both privately and publicly exploited by tourists and business people. One needs only to witness some of the perverse entertainment on offer to many cash-wielding Westerners, to see first hand the ultimate frown that casts its shadow on Thailand.

Unfortunately, Thailand’s lower socio-ecoomic demographic is caught in a vicious cycle where demand is high and supply follows suit. An economic principle as distant and cold as supply and demand actually illustrates the level of activity in the country catered towards the sex industry, which often raises opportunities for pedophiles to take advantage of young boys and girls. The crisis in Thailand is on display for all to see, and it can be angering to see wealthy travellers taking advantage of boys, girls, women and men who are forced into an unsavoury lifestyle in order to survive. The gap between rich and poor in Thailand is large, with many affluent areas physically gated off from the rest of the community. The best charities in Thailand are those which aim to protect men, women and children from prostitution, human trafficking and pedophilia. These circumstances arise out of poverty, and in a South East Asian country as popular with tourists as Thailand, often judicial systems are corrupted and appropriate protection measures for citizens non-existent. Donations which go towards food, shelter and education are greatly needed in many areas of Thailand. The Best Charity has visited Thailand on several occasions, and has developed key relationships with correspondents in the country so that the latest news and developments can be brought to the world. The hardships of Thailand deserve to be heard and stopped, and we sincerely hope that you do your part to make a difference. Below are five of the best charities in Thailand, both large and small, corporate and street level, which The Best Charity identifies as making a resounding difference to the many issues in existence. Beyond this, we have included a comprehensive analysis of Thailand from the CIA, where you can find more detailed information about the country.

The Best Charity invites you all to donate, volunteer, and make a difference to the people of Thailand who are the victims of sex trafficking, human trafficking, and child trafficking rings.

The best charities in Thailand

Facts and Figures

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. December 2007 elections saw the pro-THAKSIN People’s Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government that took office in February 2008. The anti-THAKSIN People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD, aka yellow-shirts) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister’s office in August and Bangkok’s two international airports in November. After an early December 2008 court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations, the Democrat Party formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN fled abroad in advance of an abuse of power conviction and has agitated his followers from abroad since then. THAKSIN supporters under the banner of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, aka red-shirts) rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Pattaya. Following a February 2010 court verdict confiscating half of THAKSIN’s frozen assets, the UDD staged large protests between March and May 2010, and occupied several blocks of downtown Bangkok. Clashes between security forces and protesters, elements of which were armed, resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. These protests exposed major cleavages in the Thai body politic that hampered the government and led to a general election in July 2011. THAKSIN’s youngest sister, YINGLAK, led the Puea Thai party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government in August. YINGLAK’s leadership was almost immediately challenged by historic flooding in late 2011 that had large swathes of the country underwater and threatened to inundate Bangkok itself. At the beginning of 2012 the Puea Thai-led government began fulfilling one of its main election promises, the pursuit of constitutional reform, which could lead to the nation’s 19th Constitution since 1932. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded as separatists in Thailand’s southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces continued the campaign of violence associated with their cause.
Geography ::Thailand
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
15 00 N, 100 00 E
total: 513,120 sq km

country comparison to the world: 50

land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
3,219 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
arable land: 27.54%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 65.53% (2005)
64,150 sq km (2003)
409.9 cu km (1999)
total: 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore
People and Society ::Thailand
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
67,091,089 (July 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
0-14 years: 19.9% (male 6,779,723/female 6,466,625)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 23,410,091/female 23,913,499)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 2,778,012/female 3,372,203) (2011 est.)
total: 34.2 years
male: 33.3 years
female: 35.2 years (2011 est.)
0.543% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

12.81 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

7.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 119

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

urban population: 34% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
BANGKOK (capital) 6.902 million (2009)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
48 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

country comparison to the world: 98

total: 15.9 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 107

male: 16.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
total population: 73.83 years

country comparison to the world: 113

male: 71.45 years
female: 76.33 years (2011 est.)
1.66 children born/woman (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

4.3% of GDP (2009)

country comparison to the world: 155

0.298 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2002)
1.3% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

530,000 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

28,000 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
7.8% (2003)

country comparison to the world: 60

7% (2006)

country comparison to the world: 73

4.1% of GDP (2009)

country comparison to the world: 99

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2000 census)
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2010)
total: 4.3%

country comparison to the world: 125

male: 3.7%
female: 5.1% (2009)
Government ::Thailand
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form: Prathet Thai
former: Siam
constitutional monarchy
name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
77 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Bueng Kan, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)
24 August 2007
civil law system with common law influences
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat, also spelled YINGLUCK Shinawatra (since 8 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister CHALOEM Yubamrung, also spelled CHALERM Yubamrung (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister CHUMPHON Sinlapa-acha, also spelled CHUMPOL SILPA-archa (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister KITTIRAT Na Ranong (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister YONGYUT Wichaidit (10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister YUTHASAK Sasiprapha (since 18 January 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers

(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)

note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, the prime minister is elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by appointment by the king; the prime minister is limited to two four-year terms
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 77 members elected by popular vote representing 77 provinces, 73 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; 375 members elected from 375 single-seat constituencies and 125 elected on proportional party-list basis; members serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives – last election held on 3 July 2011 (next to be held by July 2015)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NA; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PTP 265, DP 159, PJT 34, CTP 19, others 15
note: 74 senators were appointed on 19 February 2008 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 2 March 2008; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators
Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Justice, and Supreme Administrative Court; all judges are appointed by the king; the king’s appointments to the Constitutional Courtare are made upon the advice of the Senate; the nine Constitutional Court judges are drawn from the Supreme Court of Justice and Supreme Administrative Court as well as from among substantive experts in law and social sciences outside the judiciary
Chat Pattana Party or CPN (Nation Development Party [WANNARAT Channukun]; Chat Thai Phattana Party or CTP (Thai Nation Development Party) [CHUMPON Silpa-archa]; Phalang Chon Party (People [Chonburi] Power Party) [CHAO Manivong]; Phumjai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PJT (Thai Pride) [CHAWARAT Chanvirakun]; Prachathipat Party or DP (Democrat Party) [ABHISIT Wechachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]; Puea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [YONGYUT Wichaidit]; Rak Prathet Thai Party (Love Thailand Party) [CHUWIT Kamonwisit]
Multicolor Group; People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD; United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD
chief of mission: Ambassador CHAIYONG Satchiphanon (also spelled CHAIYONG Satjipanon)
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Kristie A. KENNEY
embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red; the red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life; white represents religion and the purity of Buddhism; blue stands for the monarchy
note: similar to the flag of Costa Rica but with the blue and red colors reversed
garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure); elephant
name: “Phleng Chat Thai” (National Anthem of Thailand)
note: music adopted 1932, lyrics adopted 1939; by law, people are required to stand for the national anthem at 0800 and 1800 every day; the anthem is played in schools, offices, theaters, and on television and radio during this time; “Phleng Sansasoen Phra Barami” (A Salute to the Monarch) serves as the royal anthem and is played in the presence of the royal family and during certain state ceremonies
Economy ::Thailand
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2007 – averaging more than 4% per year – as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports – mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry – continue to drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand’s exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.3%. In 2010, Thailand’s economy expanded 7.8%, its fastest pace since 1995, as exports rebounded from their depressed 2009 level. Steady economic growth at just below 4% during the first three quarters of 2011 was interrupted by historic flooding in October and November in the industrial areas north of Bangkok, crippling the manufacturing sector and leading to a revised growth rate of only 0.1% for the year. The industrial sector is poised to recover from the second quarter of 2012 onward, however, and the government anticipates the economy will probably grow between 5.5 and 6.5% for 2012, while private sector forecasts range between 3.8% and 5.7%.
$601.4 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

$600.8 billion (2010 est.)
$557.4 billion (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
$345.6 billion (2011 est.)
0.1% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 197

7.8% (2010 est.)
-2.3% (2009 est.)
$9,700 (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

$9,400 (2010 est.)
$8,800 (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
agriculture: 13.3%
industry: 34%
services: 52.7% (2011 est.)
39.62 million (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

agriculture: 40.7%
industry: 13.2%
services: 46.1% (2011 est.)
0.7% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

0.5% (2010 est.)
8.1% (2009 est.)
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 42.6% (2009)
53.6 (2009)

country comparison to the world: 12

42 (2002)
26.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

revenues: $66.21 billion
expenditures: $70.3 billion (2011 est.)
19.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

-2.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

40.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

42.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment. Debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions.
3.8% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

3.3% (2010 est.)
3.25% (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

2% (31 December 2010 est.)
7.4% (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 137

6.31% (31 December 2010 est.)
$46.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

$44.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$444.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

$371.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$418.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

$365.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$275.7 billion (31 December 2010)

country comparison to the world: 26

$262.7 billion (31 December 2009)
$171 billion (31 December 2008)
rice, cassava (manioc), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world’s second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
-9.3% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

139 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

131.6 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

1.979 billion kWh (2009 est.)
2.313 billion kWh (2009 est.)
406,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

988,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

269,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

807,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

435 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

30.88 billion cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

39.17 billion cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

0 cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

8.29 billion cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

312.2 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

$11.9 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

$13.2 billion (2010 est.)
$244.4 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

$193.5 billion (2010 est.)
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
China 12%, Japan 10.5%, US 9.6%, Hong Kong 7.2%, Malaysia 5.4%, Singapore 5%, Indonesia 4.4% (2009 est.)
$214.6 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

$161.3 billion (2010 est.)
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Japan 18.5%, China 13.4%, UAE 6.3%, US 5.9%, Malaysia 5.4%, South Korea 4% (2009 est.)
$175.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

$172.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$115.6 billion (30 September 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

$100.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$119.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

$115.9 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$29.79 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

$23.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
baht per US dollar –
30.18 (2011 est.)
31.686 (2010 est.)
34.286 (2009)
33.37 (2008)
34.52 (2007)
1 October – 30 September
Communications ::Thailand
7.009 million (2009)

country comparison to the world: 27

69.683 million (2009)

country comparison to the world: 17

general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok
domestic: fixed line system provided by both a government owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly
international: country code – 66; connected to major submarine cable systems providing links throughout Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean)
6 terrestrial TV stations in Bangkok broadcast nationally via relay stations – 2 of the networks are owned by the military, the other 4 are government-owned or controlled, leased to private enterprise, and all are required to broadcast government-produced news programs twice a day; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services are available; radio frequencies have been allotted for more than 500 government and commercial radio stations; many small community radio stations operate with low-power transmitters (2008)
3.278 million (2010)

country comparison to the world: 31

17.483 million (2009)

country comparison to the world: 23

Transportation ::Thailand
105 (2010)

country comparison to the world: 55

total: 64
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 6 (2010)
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 27 (2010)
4 (2010)
gas 1,889 km; liquid petroleum gas 85 km; refined products 1,099 km (2010)
total: 4,071 km

country comparison to the world: 42

standard gauge: 29 km 1.435-m gauge (29 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 4,042 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)

country comparison to the world: 28

4,000 km (3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 27

total: 363

country comparison to the world: 28

by type: bulk carrier 31, cargo 99, chemical tanker 28, container 18, liquefied gas 36, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 114, refrigerated cargo 24, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 13 (China 1, Hong Kong 1, Malaysia 3, Singapore 1, Taiwan 1, UK 6)
registered in other countries: 46 (Bahamas 4, Belize 1, Honduras 2, Panama 6, Singapore 33) (2010)
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Prachuap Port, Si Racha
Military ::Thailand
Royal Thai Army (Kongthap Bok Thai, RTA), Royal Thai Navy (Kongthap Ruea Thai, RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Kongthap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2010)
21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males register at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2009)
males age 16-49: 17,689,921
females age 16-49: 17,754,795 (2010 est.)
males age 16-49: 13,308,372
females age 16-49: 14,182,567 (2010 est.)
male: 533,424
female: 509,780 (2010 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Transnational Issues ::Thailand
separatist violence in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities, and as of 2006, over 116,000 Karen and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand; 140,000 mostly Karen refugees fleeing civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation in Burma live in remote camps in Thailand near the border
refugees (country of origin): 132,241 (Burma) (2007)
a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns

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