How to stop trafficking
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.