Prevention and Protection
Education is the key to prevention! DEPDC / GMS applies educational opportunities as the pathway toprotection and development. These components are viewed as the most effective approach in reduction of vulnerability whereby girls and boys enter prostitution or other forced labour situations.
It is widely acknowledged that measures to prevent a child from entering forced labor, rather than channeling resources entirely into victim rehabilitation, is preferable both to the individual and to society as a whole. Prevention is more cost-efficient and has a considerably higher success rate for each child involved than efforts to rehabilitate a child who has already experienced life as a prostitute or laborer.
At DEPDC / GMS, prevention through education utilizes these methods: seminars, research, workshops, widespread awareness campaigns, at community and local government levels, on the issues of human trafficking and child rights. The sub-components are:
- Child and Youth participation
- Networking and collaboration with all government and non-government sectors
- Case studies, documentation, field research, and information sharing
- Outreach to marginalized groups, namely migrants and indigenous peoples
- Community-based activities to gain public support
- Social programs for re-integration of trafficking and abuse victims back into society
Education is the Key
DEPDC/GMS offers educational opportunities for children who would otherwise receive none; a safe shelter with full-time accommodation to at-risk children, in order to prevent them from being trafficked into the sex industry or other exploitative labor situations and to raise awareness of child rights and human trafficking on the community level . DEPDC / GMS strongly believes in the importance of providing an education as the key to opening a range of opportunities for young people. This begins with a positive pre-school and primary school experience. Evidence shows that the longer children stay in school, the higher the probability that they will stay out of the forced labor and the commercial sex trade. Receiving an education is therefore viewed as one of the best strategies to reduce the vulnerability of girls and boys.
While children are physically located in school, they unable to work. Furthermore, school attendance limits the hours of work and defines the character and the conditions of employment that children can undertake. As important is the fact that it allows them to build a social network. Educated girls and boys are also much less likely to be duped by human traffickers. Statistics based on a 2-year follow-up of the DEPDC/GMS ‘daughters’ (former project benficiaries) show that only 2% of these children have later entered the sex industry.
How do we work?
To identify children at risk, DEPDC/GMS works closely with community leaders and stakeholders such as teachers, monks, police officers, concerned individuals and village leaders. However, families and village members are sometimes complicit in the trafficking trade, and this produces a major barrier for investigation and intervention, as these people stand to gain much by selling the(ir) children. Unfortunately, many other adults in similar authority positions are often involved in debt bondage arrangements, linking families with brothel agents, and benefiting financially from the exchange. Our staff incorporates official documentation and persuasion that is based on the basic rights of children in order to convince parents not to sell their children. They persuade them to reconsider the options for their children and educate the parents about the perils of the forced labor, espcially the commercial sex industry. Information about HIV/AIDS, brothel conditions, laws, penalties, and other potential dangers support this argument. In many successful cases, the decision of the children to continue their education overrides the parents’ desire for monetary gain.
Objectives of our Projects are:
- To remain on the prevention and protection side of the trafficking problem in the Mekong Sub-region
- To prevent children from being forced into the sex industry or child labour
- Support educational opportunities for disadvantaged children from poor and broken homes
- Give the at-risk children of Northern Thailand and neighbouring countries an opportunity to live in a safe place
- Give the children an opportunity for life development and life-skills training, to prevent them from being forced into the sex industry due to economic hardship, poverty, and lack of citizenship, education, or employment opportunities
- Strengthen families and communities by working on community development; for example, training adults and empowering children with self-esteem and self-sufficiency
Read about the Projects that our organisation oversees to implement this strategy.