Ten new laws will be introduced this year by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in what the government trumpets as a “comprehensive” effort to protect children, including a particular focus addressing drug use and teenage pregnancy.
The 10 laws will be the NLA’s present to Thai children, said Wallop Tang-kananurak in marking Thai Children’s Day yesterday.
The government was concerned about children’s wellbeing and protection, said the head of the NLA’s special committee on youth, women, the elderly, and physical challenged and disadvantaged persons.
Among other acts, the new laws will include the National Child and Youth Development Promotion Act, the Control of Begging Act, and the Child Born by Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Medical Science Protection Act.
“These laws will provide legal protection for all children and relieve the problems that the next generation is facing, especially the problems of drug use and teenage pregnancy,” Wallop said. Authorities and stakeholders needed to be aware of the issues affecting children and take immediate action, he added.
Drug use is a significant problem, he said, noting that by some measurements Thailand had up to 2.7 million drug users, and around 300,000 teenagers age 15 to 19 were in rehabilitation, with yet more unidentified youth using drugs but not receiving help.
Wallop said drug addicts as young as 11 years old have been found and children as young as seven years old have been involved in drug dealing.
He also said the number of unplanned pregnancies among teenagers has increased annually, with around 150,000 teens under 19 years old getting pregnant yearly.