Today (25 November) is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marking the start of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV). Violence against women is a global epidemic – according to the UN, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime. Violence against women can take many different forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, verbal, age-related and human trafficking. These diverse forms of abuse often overlap.
- 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, most likely from their intimate partner
- 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16
- Over half (55%) of female homicide victims are killed by intimate partners
- Women and children account for 71% of all human trafficking victims detected globally
- 70% of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation, and 18% is for forced labour
Chiang Rai provience in northern Thailand, where Center for Girls (CFG) is based, is no exception to these statistics. GBV is a significant problem across the region, and CFG has been leading the fight to eradicate it since 1997. Due to close proximity with the Laos boarder and the infamous Golden Triangle region, violence against women and children has long been facilitated and intertwined with complicated factors such as organized crime and human trafficking. Established in 1997, CFG works tirelessly and directly with local communities to empower women and children, reduce instances of GBV, and educate everyone about human trafficking issues.
CFG works to educate and empower women and children directly through sustainable, community-based projects including:
Women for Change
Now in its third year, Women for Change, a Chiang Khong-wide initiative designed to empower women by increasing their knowledge of GBV and how to report it, is behind a number of impressive accomplishments, including:
- The formation of a strong network of women across Chiang Khong who watch out for and report cases of abuse that occur within their communities, and act as role models
- The education of over one hundred women via training sessions and women’s empowerment workshops
- The election of women as village leaders
- The successful establishment of local social enterprises created and run by women
Child protection in schools
Center for Girls works with schools in Phan to deliver child rights, protection and safety training to teachers and a Youth Leadership Program to students. Hundreds of students benefitted from this training in 2017, and 35 student leaders were selected to act as watchdogs within their schools and communities, working together with school administration to coordinate training and events to educate their fellow students. Following these successes, the project was expanded to schools in Chiang Khong in 2018.
Prevention of child trafficking and abuse
CFG works tirelessly to engage, educate, and empower local youth and other community members on human trafficking. On-going collaboration with NGOs and local government has led to the creation of a strong network to report and help prevent the trafficking and exploitation of children. CFG also works directly with local business owners in Chiang Khong to increase awareness and share prevention strategies for human trafficking.
How can I get involved?
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 days of activism that follow is an important and timely global initiative that CFG is proud to support, and one that should be reinforced and shared as widely as possible. There are lots of different ways to get involved and show your support:
- Know the facts – take a look at and share our infographic, and follow Center for Girls on Twitter and Facebook
- Host or attend an event – tomorrow Center for Girls will be in Chiang Khong all day campaigning against GBV – look out for the orange t-shirts!
- Use your voice and your platform to speak out about GBV, start conversations with friends to raise awareness, and show your support on social media using #hearmetoo and #orangetheworld
- Buy from female entrepreneurs – empowering women financially keeps them from being entirely dependent on their partners. Center for Girls has worked with local communities across northern Thailand to develop women-led social enterprises – find out more and how to support them here.