Meet Pik
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This is LIFT's lawyer, Pik. Since she came to work for us in 2014, Pik has been instrumental in partnering with public prosectors to put traffickers and exploiters in jail and protecting and compensating victims of trafficking. 

Pik has worked on cases that resulted in:

  • 93 convictions of traffickers and exploiters
  • Offenders receiving 1000 years of jail time for their crimes.
  • US $168,000 in fines to the court from offenders 
  • US $375,000 in compensation paid directly to victims

As a graduate of Thailand's prestigious Thammasat Law School, Pik had many options available to her to practice law. She chose to come to work at LIFT because, she says, "I feel like I'm quite lucky that I grew up in a good family in a good environment. I want that for other people."

In a world where we can all feel powerless to do something to help end trafficking, Pik applied herself where she could. "I only have my knowledge," she explains. "If I can use my knowledge to help people, I feel like I'm using my life to help them." 

Pik sees her role as advocating for victims in court but also educating judges and other attorneys. She hopes she can use her experience and knowledge of survivors' lives to "change the judicial perspective on victims. They aren't bad girls. I let them know what kind of trauma the victims have." Pik approaches each case with the idea that she has to learn as much as possible to make the cases watertight. She visits the crime scenes, checks in with survivors at home or in shelters and coordinates with other LIFT teams to make sure that her clients have access to the best services available.

Anti-trafficking case law in Thailand is relatively new. The anti-trafficking law was passed in only 2007. Pik always pushes for sentences of offenders to be commensurate with their crimes and for victim compensations to be fair given the extent of trauma that comes with being trafficked and exploited. On a recent case of several children being trafficked, Pik told the parents, "I will do my best to help your son." In the best possible way, she takes on each case as a personal commitment to serve each individual and LIFT's greater mission of freedom through justice.

We are so grateful for Pik's expertise and commitment to our team and our survivor clients. 

 
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LIFT in America
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LIFT's Strategic Partnerships Manager, Carter Quinley, will be touring the U.S. in July and August to connect with supporters and friends of LIFT. Carter holds a Bachelors in International Studies from the University of Richmond and a Certificate in Social Innovation and Leadership from the United Nations School of Peace. She began her career working as the International Liaison at the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) of the Royal Thai Police, where she supported international survivors of trafficking through the judicial process. At LIFT, Carter has been instrumental in coordinating regional collaboration with helping to host the Asia Region Anti-Human Trafficking Conference and through platforms such as Freedom Collaborative. 

If you are in any of these cities and would like Carter to speak to your community group or church, please contact us at info@liftinternational.org.

 
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How to stop trafficking
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A question that we get the most from people is perhaps -- How do we -- individuals, churches, organizations -- stop trafficking? In the last fifteen or so years as the anti-trafficking sector has evolved, a lot of the conversation has centered on providing services for survivors of trafficking. Providing aftercare and a safe place for survivors to go is absolutely critical in the fight against human trafficking. Survivor care should be foremost in our work. However, we recognize that it is part of a larger response needed to dismantle trafficking networks and keep trafficking from happening again. Our work utilizes various tactics to be strategic in addressing trafficking. Here are some of the ways that we are trying to make trafficking less possible and profitable:

  • Identifying victims -- Our investigation team is active in identifying male, female and child victims of trafficking. We work from law enforcement referrals or pass information on to law enforcement.
  • Identifying perpetrators -- The same goes for traffickers. We work to find out who is exploiting people for profit and turn them in to officials.
  • Seizing assets from traffickers -- Once we identify a perpetrator and can prove trafficking is occuring, law enforcement follows through and uses the Anti-Money Laundering Office to seize the assets of traffickers. It takes money to make money in the business of trafficking. Recently, a case we were involved in had 463 million THB seized from offenders. That's money that won't be used to traffick other people. 
  • Recognizing the spectrum of exploitation -- We were the first in Thailand to bring a case of child begging as trafficking to trial. We have also worked on child pornography cases that have become trafficking cases. Vulnerable people are exploited at many points along a spectrum, and it's critical to be open to working all kinds of cases to be effective in identifying trafficking. 
  • Partnering with law enforcement -- We exist to support existing structures of law enforcement and the judiciary. Work done outside of these is bound to be less effective and possibly even illegal. 
  • Judicial advocacy -- Our legal team is actively educating judges and other attorneys on the reality of trafficking and what the lives of survivors are like. Our lawyer Pik said, "The anti-trafficking law is very new. Especially behind the scenes, what victims' lives are like. I hope my experience can change judicial perspective on victims. They are not 'bad girls.' I let them know what kind of trauma the victims have." 
  • Victim compensation -- Our attorney sues for compensation on behalf of victims of exploitation. All of this money goes directly to the victims. 
  • Followup with survivors -- Our social work team recently went to Laos to check in with survivor clients. We continue to be involved in the lives of survivors and help them get the care, education and job training they want and deserve. It's a long term process to ensure that survivors not simply survive but thrive. 

One thing we say is that it takes a network to combat a network. Traffickers can be sophisticated in how they sell and exploit people, so we need to be the best we can be and partner with trusted law enforcement and other NGOs to do our work effectively. Some of our cases employ only one of these tactics while others involve several of these at once. The bottom line is, we use our expertise when we can and partner with others when needed. The outcome of each the case are different; one case could be about seizing assets from traffickers and another could be about securing and protecting victims. Every case is about freedom through justice.

So, again, how can you -- individuals, churches and organizations -- stop trafficking? One thing you could do is partner with us in our work. You can actively seek to educate others in your community about various forms of trafficking and the ways to keep it from happening again. It takes a network of methods and a network of people to stop trafficking from happening again. 

 
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When do you use victim vs. survivor?
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There is sometimes an understandable confusion between the terms victim and survivor in the anti-trafficking sector. When do you use the word victim to describe someone? What makes someone a survivor? There are both legal and emotional connections to these words, and we try to be sensitive in choosing the appropriate word for the context. In addition, we consulted with people who have experienced trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation because we believe the best way to be informed of what terms to use is to ask people who are themselves affected. Even within the anti-trafficking community, there might not be agreement, but these are the words we choose to use to talk about our work and our clients:

  • We use the term victim to describe someone in a state of exploitation or trafficking. UNODC defines human trafficking as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."
  • Anyone under the age of 18 in the commercial sex industry is below the age of consent and is a victim of trafficking. There is no such thing as a child prostitute, only victims and survivors of child rape. Check out this campaign for more information. 
  • We use the term victim compensation as legal terminology to describe a financial settlement paid from an offender to someone they exploited, even if that person is no longer a victim. 
  • We use the term survivor to describe someone who was at one point in time trafficked or exploited.

Our goal is to see anyone who is currently a victim of trafficking and exploitation be identified and removed from harm so they can become a free and flourishing survivor. We recognize that every survivor has their own journey, and we don't want people to be defined by their pasts. We will never identify a victim or survivor of trafficking; their safety is our top priority.

 
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