The following is from “The Globe,” a magazine for children to learn about child rights issues around the world as a part of World’s Children’s Prize. Learn more about World’s Children’s Prize here and on their website.
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When Jan Hom was eight, a man visited her foster parent’s home. He said he would pay them if they let their daughter work at a restaurant in town. They said no..
“I was little and I didn’t really understand. Now it makes me scared to think about what could have happened. If I had gone with him I probably wouldn’t be alive today. So child trafficking is an issue that’s close to my heart. I tell everyone I meet about it.
If we raise awareness we can stop more children from being sold and exploited. Many children from Burma are easy targets. They can’t read or write and know nothing about their rights. They can’t get jobs so they have to take illegal work. My neighbour’s daughter travelled to Bangkok 20 years ago and disappeared. They still don’t know if she’s alive or dead. And I have lots of friends who have disappeared. Only one has come back. She said that in Bangkok she was locked in a room, and then taken to another country with some other girls. She doesn’t want to talk about what happened there, but I don’t think it was good.”
Jan Hom’s father died shortly after she was born in Burma. Her mother married again and had to move to the mountains with her new husband. She couldn’t take Jan Hom with her.
“My mother asked our neighbour’s to to bring me up as their own child. They were happy, because they really liked me, and their own daughter had died.”
Jan Hom and her parents live in a small bamboo house in Mae Sai, which Sompop’s organisation helped them to find.
When Jan Hom was twelve , her mother came to visit from Burma for the first time.
“I was so happy. I had never understood why she didn’t want me. She said that it was difficult to give me up, but that she knew that my neighbours loved me as lot and would give me a good home. Mum slept in my bed, and she cried and held me tight all night long.”