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The report on overseas labour migrants (2005: 81-2) was based on sample surveys in the three countries and concluded that:

Most Mongolian labour migrants were irregular migrants. Survey respondents reported that weak language skills, finding a job, invalid documents, money and homesickness were the most difficult problems they faced living abroad. …

Mongolian migrants worked in very bad and insecure conditions with limited hygiene. Especially migrants who were living in the Republic of Korea, reported that they worked in worse conditions …

… most Mongolian migrants were living in critical situations without health insurance and few possibilities of obtaining health care and treatment. …

Migrants often reported that they suffered mental stress and as a consequence some abused others. In addition, there were negative implications for children’s behaviour and the health of migrants and their family members.

The report concluded that the escalation in labour export has not been matched by the provision of adequate support and many receiving countries do not adhere to conventions and the observance of human rights standards. Most Mongolian migrants do not know the laws of the countries where they are working.

The following section is quoted from the assessment report by NAF (2001b) in order to provide another picture on local cross-border activity:

Ulaanbaatar, Dornogobi, Selenge, Orkhon and Khovd are particularly vulnerable to drug use because these provinces lie along a major transnational transport route and have a very high rate of internal and international mobility. A review of findings indicates that the border towns of Zamiin-Uud in Mongolia and Erlian in China both function as major transit points. Erlian is also a market town where traders from Mongolia come to purchase goods and Chinese bring goods from all over the country to sell. The town offers a number of entertainment outlets to visitors with commercial sex work involving Mongolian girls. This mobility allows for introduction to new substances into Mongolia and opportunities for networking among drug users in different areas. The trans-Mongolia railway also acts as a potential drug trafficking route; in other countries, drug use among local populations has been known to grow rapidly, accompanied by related HIV epidemics, along new drug trafficking routes.

An example of the increase in travel: 4 million passengers travel annually with the Mongolian railway. According to local data in the year 2000, a total of 23,186 people traveled through the five temporary border points in Bulgan soum of Khovd aimag to China and Russia. The Assessment Team noted

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