So their sad story started when they moved to Thailand, in the end of 80’s and beginning of 90’s as the refugees, running away from the civil war that was taking a big wave in their homeland, country of Myanmar.
The Thai government gave them asilium when they first came but then they didn’t let them go back. Now they don’t own anything, without proper identity card they can’t even move anywhere from their villages, they can’t cultivate anything on the land because Thai police can put them in jail. So they are pushed to do the only thing that they are allowed to do – being a tourist attraction.
Girls first start to wear rings when they are around 5 years old. Over the years the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. The weight of the brass pushes the rib collar bone down and compresses the rib cage. The neck itself is not lengthened; the appearance of a stretched neck is created by the deformation of the clavicle. The muscles covered by the coil become weakened. The collar feels like an integral part of the body after ten or more years of continuous wear.
While some say the villages give Kayans a paid opportunity to retain their culture, others see this arrangement opportunity for exploiting stateless women and children in exchange for tourist dollars. Although the ethic of this arrangement makes some travelers uncomfortable, each day, many foreigners still visit Long Neck villages. Many foreign-run companies discourage these trips but most Thai-based companies don’t discriminate. Over a half-dozen hill tribes exist in North Thailand and the Chiang Mai province.