Go U Suay Ne

Chiang Rai

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“Today’s income is enough but only for today.”

Go U can still remember how difficult life was for him as a child. Knowing that his family had to do something, leaving Myanmar seemed like the only possibility. 

“My childhood back in Myanmar was very difficult, I lived inside a thatched roof house. It was very dry in the hot weather, soaked and completely wet in the rain,” says Go U. “Some nights I could not sleep. My father earned enough for only one meal each day. Today’s income is enough just for today. The rainy season was the most difficult time. No work at all.”

Shortly before his ninth birthday, Go U’s grandmother took him across the border from Pyin U Lwin, Myanmar, into Thailand, where he enrolled in a local Thai school. Working hard and excelling in his studies, he received a scholarship to study at school every year.

“Most people from Myanmar thought money was the most important thing,” Go U claimed, “but to me, it’s education. There were plenty of knowledge platforms available on social media. It’s unnecessary to learn only from school.”    

Today, Go U is a 24-year-old junior at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. Aside from studying, he works multiple jobs, including selling cosmetics, teaching, and interpreting Thai for several NGOs.

He never forgot the path he took to get here.

Go U works directly with victims of human trafficking and migrant workers. He says “the translation service he provides to migrants during their registration period is an essential part of helping them go through the process.” He wants to ensure migrant workers receive accurate information.

Go U works directly with victims of human trafficking and migrant workers. He says “the translation service he provides to migrants during their registration period is an essential part of helping them go through the process.” He wants to ensure migrant workers receive accurate information.

Since 2019, Go U has volunteered with The Freedom Story, an NGO supported by USAID Thailand Counter Trafficking in Persons project. He is now an active supporter of The Freedom Story’s initiatives, assisting in legal cases, and organizing activities that help migrant workers in Chiang Rai.

Every training session organized, he attended.

Every time we needed support, he provided it.

Most people he has helped had issues claiming social security benefits, or they had failed to notify their employer before leaving one job to start another; a common mistake made when migrant workers move jobs. Go U freely gives of his time to teach people how to claim benefits and move between jobs.

One case he assisted with involved a food processing company that forced migrant workers to renew their passports by charging 10,000 Baht. One worker who refused to pay, was fired from her position. The case, reported to the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, was resolved, and the employee could return to work.

Go U even took part producing a short film to raise community awareness of human trafficking.

COVID-19 travel restrictions did not stop Go U from sharing his legal knowledge and helping people. Unable to see people face-to-face, he reached out via his Facebook page. Go U now has almost 15,000 followers, and his posts have received up to 150,000 hits.

“When someone asked me about social security, only one person learned about it, but with the power of social media, if I hold a live event,  through my Facebook page, at least 5,000 friends and over 15,000 followers, learn about it and could do it themselves next time.” – Go U

With his education, knowledge and experience, Go U’s confidence in helping migrant workers continues to grow.


Photo by Suthep Kritsanavarin

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