Project #223 Human Trafficking Prevention in Thailand
Our Partnership with HUG Project
Accessibility to technology comes with the dangers and risks of online exploitation. In many cases, online exploitation can lead to trauma, abuse, and human trafficking. Because of Covid-19, we have seen a sharp increase in the online exploitation of children in Thailand due to more children using the internet while staying at home. In 2020, Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (our law enforcement partner) received over 300,000 tips just through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.
One Day’s Wages partnered with the HUG Project to prevent human trafficking and sexual abuse of children in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There were three parts to this project. Part 1: BDD (molding stars) After-School Program. The HUG Project’s child advocacy center is a safe space for children to learn, grow, and simply have fun. In this program, staff cycled through weekly topics such as English, Science, Safety, Art, and movie nights, creating a positive environment for at-risk children has proven to be effective in trafficking prevention. Part 2: School and Community Outreach. Education is key when it comes to prevention. The HUG Project attends school and community gatherings to discuss the importance of online safety. HUG and TICAC (HUG’s law enforcement partner) cover topics such as safe/unsafe touch, online safety, and who to trust and contact when a child is in trouble. Part 3: Poster Distribution. The HUG Project hung posters in schools and distributed them around at-risk communities so there is always a number or contact person to refer to. This is a tangible reminder to children, students, and families that we are always there for them.
Our Collective Impact
Students Educated in the 1st Training Session
Students Educated in the 2nd Training Session
Total People Impacted
“Nan’s” story begins with a troubled home life. After her biological father left the family, her mother remarried and started a new family with her new husband. Nan left home in order to escape attempted rape by her new stepfather. This is how she found herself trying to survive on the streets at the age of 13. And this is when she was exploited by a trafficker. Nan’s offender not only abused her sexually, but also live-streamed the abuse over the internet. Hundreds of online spectators participated in this advertised “pay-per-view” event. HUG’s law enforcement partners conducted a proactive investigation with enabled them to identify and locate Nan. But initially, she was afraid to talk with the police and only felt comfortable speaking with HUG staff members. After building trust with her, HUG pulled together a team of professionals (including a social worker, investigator, counselor, and prosecutor) to guide her through a grueling legal process. In preparing for questioning in court, Nan would burst into tears at the mention of family. She was as traumatized by the separation from her family as she was by the broadcast of her abuse for profit. HUG team members provided for both her physical and emotional needs: comforting her, protecting her- and taking her shopping. In the end, because of her strong testimony and evidence, Nan’s perpetrator pled guilty to human trafficking. Today she is back in school and living in a secure location. With support from team HUG, Nan is working toward healing, and hopes for a brighter future. This case not only highlights the devastation caused by internet-facilitated sexual crimes against children, but also emphasizes the need for a child-friendly justice system in Thailand.
Thank you for making this possible!
Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.