Education: safety from traffickers
Education means safety and freedom here. World Concern paid Toshiko’s school costs and helped feed her. Now, Toshiko’s life will likely turn out better than that of her mother. Her mom moved to the city, after she was promised a job that would help support her desperate family.
The promises had come from a trafficker, exploiting the naïveté of the people in this isolated village. Saranya Tangwongkit, our Child Protection Program Manager, explains, “Youth just go, not realizing that they will become sex workers at the age of 12.”
Hope for a sex slave's child
“They are coming home with half-Thai children.” Saranya continues, “The women’s bodies are diseased; they feel worthless.”
Toshiko’s mom returned to the village, but found she couldn’t make an income. She left Toshiko and moved to another city but visits every year, finding her daughter well-cared for.
In Toshiko’s school, we make sure she and her classmates know the traffickers are liars. “We build trafficking awareness with teachers, parents and children, empowering them to make the right decisions,” Saranya explains.
Economic opportunities nurture hope for moms
For other desperate mothers, we’re creating an ability to stay in the village. World Concern’s income-generating project enables women to make and sell small items.
Even tiny Toshiko creates colorful handkerchiefs and joins our staff to sell them at a local market. It’s hands-on preparation for her future success.
Traffickers posted a sign in the village, offering work to youth. “We regularly interview the school children about this offer. They know it’s a lie,” says Saranya, smiling. “They say ‘I don’t believe it.’ They want to stay with mom and go to school.”