Preventing Human Trafficking in Thailand
March 16, 2015
“There is such beauty in this foreign land and yet the filth is equally present.”
As Katie and her team set off New Years Eve lanterns in celebration, they join thousands of others partaking in the age-old tradition throughout Thailand. The bright, breathtaking sight stands in stark contrast to the darkness and secrets of this city.
Just hours earlier, Katie and the others prayer-walked the Red Light District of Chiang Mai, two by two, while rubbing shoulders with men searching for a nightly companion.
“We prayed for the faces of the women, girls, children and lady-boys who hoped that someone would pick them, and also that no one would,” remarked Katie.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING RUN RAMPANT
Her team isn’t just kicking off 2015. They are marking the start of a week-long expedition to address the causes of human trafficking in one of the world’s hardest-hit regions. As Chiang Mai flourishes, human trafficking remains a scourge to the land. Posing as religious leaders, successful businessmen, or sympathetic maternal figures, human traffickers enter impoverished villages and convince families to give up their children by promising a better life for them. With identification papers in hand and corrupt assistance from every branch of government, traffickers are able to make their victims disappear from the public eye. Many are smuggled across the border and forced into harsh labor while others are sold into sexual slavery.
In June 2014, the U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, downgrading Thailand to a Tier 3 state. The scathing analysis revealed that Thai officials have failed to meet the minimum standards for protecting its people from forced labor and sex trafficking. Even the most conservative estimates report that tens of thousands of victims are trafficked every year.
A PRICELESS OPPORTUNITY
Katie and her team spent the week venturing into these remote villages. Using the PricelessCube, they were able to reveal the tactics used by human trafficking rings while communicating the critical message that every life is priceless.
“The families listened intently and thanked us for loving them and their children enough to share this cautionary information,” shared Katie.
Over the course of the week, 262 people heard the message of the PricelessCube while 201 also heard the Gospel – many for the first time. Throughout the year, teams are spreading across Thailand, Ethiopia, and other regions of the world where human trafficking runs rampant. Armed with PricelessCubes, they share a life-changing message with deep spiritual implications.