As Chiang Khong is in a border area, it is a relatively high risk for human trafficking. In order to stay safe from human trafficking, it is important that children are aware of the risks and the possibilities for protection from a young age onwards. On the 21st of May, Center for Girls (CFG) provided a workshop for 80 girls at Ban Muang Kan School. The purpose of this workshop was to educate girls about human trafficking, protection from this, and children’s rights, and to challenge them to think about the female gender. The workshop was part of the Kindernothilfe sponsored project to prevent human trafficking. More information about this project can be found at the end of this article.
After a few ice breaker games, the CFG team explained to the girls what children’s rights are and discussed the four different categories of rights with them. These categories are survival, development, protection, and participation. It is important that all children are aware of their rights, as this will increase the possibilities for them to know when their rights are violated, to stand up for their rights, and to ask for help.
In order to discuss female gender topics, the students were also asked to think about what it means to them to be a girl, the differences between boys and girls, and how you physically and emotionally change when you grow up. They then presented the answers they had come up with and the drawings they had made in groups. As the majority of the victims of human trafficking and commercial and sexual exploitation are women and girls, it is important to make gender issues like these discussable. This will make the girls more confident to speak about these issues, causing them to be less vulnerable to traffickers.
Human trafficking is a complex issue with many sides to it, so in order to make it understandable, the CFG team divided it into seven steps:
- What is human trafficking?
- Where does human trafficking occur?
- What are the different types of human trafficking?
- What are the costs of human trafficking?
- Who are risk groups with regard to human trafficking?
- How can you be protected from human trafficking? How can you protect yourself and how can your family and community protect you?
- Which people and organizations can help you when you are a victim of human trafficking?
The students were challenged to think about these questions themselves by working in groups to answer them and prepare a short presentation. After the presentations, which contained many bright ideas, the CFG team discussed the seven steps with the whole group. The workshop leaders also talked about the various reasons why human trafficking exists and why people can fall victim to it, such as poverty, lack of education and opportunities, lack of self-protection skills, and the existence of the sex industry in some cities and villages.
A Successful Workshop
The workshop was concluded with the possibility for the students to ask any questions they had, after which they were answered by the CFG team. All the girls participated very well in the workshops and were eager to share their ideas. They now have crucial knowledge about their rights, about how to stay as safe as possible from human trafficking, where to ask for help, and that Center for Girls is there to support them when necessary. In the following weeks, Center for Girls will provide this same workshop to students in other schools in the Chiang Khong district as well.
Program for the Prevention of Child Trafficking and CSEC
Since 2014, CFG has worked on programs for the prevention of child trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children, sponsored by the German organization Kindernothilfe. This project consists of various activities to prevent and report child trafficking and child abuse, to raise awareness about these issues, and to make both children and adults more informed about their rights. These activities include workshops, training in schools, an online campaign for children and teens, spreading information through flyers and posters, and the business owner network.
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