Local businesses are instrumental in identifying, reporting, and preventing human trafficking, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), and abuse. Last Saturday, Center for Girls (CFG) convened local Chiang Khong business owners for the first time in a new series of workshops to assess the current knowledge of human trafficking and CSEC within this group, determine what the participants were interested in learning about in the future sessions, and brainstorm potential solutions.
Since 2012, Center for Girls has been working with the German organization Kindernothilfe to prevent human trafficking and CSEC. A key element of this work has been creating a network of businesses committed to following labor laws and CSEC-free employment practices and serving as a community watchdog to identify and report suspected cases of trafficking and CSEC.
Certain industries often employ or have unique access to vulnerable populations, so it is critical to educate and engage leaders in these fields around combating these issues. Business owners in hospitality, construction, and agriculture often employ foreign labor, and these are high-risk industries for trafficking. Other industries, such as transport, often have frequent contact with migrating people and other vulnerable people. The entertainment industry, which includes karaoke bars, often employs young people and needs to ensure they are not employing children in adult entertainment. Therefore, CFG’s network includes key stakeholders such as restaurant owners, transportation workers such as tuk-tuk and minibus drivers, hotel workers, construction and agriculture workers, people in the entertainment industry, and immigration officials.
The next phase of the project involves further strengthening and developing the potential of this network. Through educating and supporting these businesses, CFG will help these duty-bearers to take an active role in preventing human trafficking and CSEC, and protecting children and vulnerable people in the community.
CFG started the half-day session by conducting a detailed survey to get a baseline understanding of existing knowledge of human trafficking and CSEC issues. CFG’s Director, Nunnaree, then led focus groups to determine what additional information about labor laws and human trafficking participants believed would be useful to their efforts, what they viewed as key challenges in addressing human trafficking and CSEC, and what they were interested in learning about in future workshops.
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