My Experience with Modern Slavery in Thailand
**Disclaimer: Human trafficking and slavery are against the law in Thailand. The government makes it clear that the perpetrators will be severely punished. This blog is in no way attempting to show Thailand or any other country in Southeast Asia in a negative light. This blog will only discuss facts and experiences by the author**
Thailand is consistently ranked as one of the best tourist destinations in the world, having nearly over 35 million tourists every year. However, it has also been known for widespread human trafficking, even leading the U.S. State Department to leave Thailand on a Tier 2 Watchlist. After knowing this, I became more and more curious to why this was happening and how I can help the people being trafficked into Thailand.
After my internship with an anti-human trafficking organization called MyLifeMyChoice in Boston, I was able to travel to the exotic land which is Thailand. With the blessing from the Glavin Global Fellows Program, I was able to go into Thailand with an investigation plan and thirst for research. I wanted to understand what these people were going through to eventually help them with a nonprofit of my own.
When I reached Thailand, I was surprised about a couple of things. One, there were not that many English speaking people – even in the main city, Bangkok, which created a huge language barrier. I knew the basics, Sawatdee kaa (polite female hello), Kobkun kaa (thank you), etc. but it was not enough for what I wanted to accomplish. I had to improvise. I met up with a professor who used to teach at Babson, Wanna Prayungvok, and asked her all the questions that I wanted to ask these women and potential answers. She advised using Google Translate as well, as it surprisingly worked well with the Thai language.
With this knowledge, I had already planned to meet with a couple of organizations that were going to help me understand more about what the situation is in Thailand and how these NGOs are helping. One of the organizations I found most interesting is called NightLight International/NightLight Bangkok. They build trusting relationships with individuals in the sex industry internationally as well as nationally by helping them with resources and alternatives to sex work.
NightLight International is in need of major funding at the moment. Because they help individuals reach an afterlife after the trauma they have faced, they are in need of funding shelters and better opportunities for these men and women. If you feel you can donate anything at all, this is the link.
Meeting these organizations opened my eyes on a subject I thought I knew about. The amount of vulnerability that these individuals go through is inexplicable and abominable. Women, especially, all over the world are trafficked. In Thailand alone, there were trafficked girls from Russia, India and Uganda coming to nonprofits for help. I am thankful for the experience and to be educated on the topic.
To learn for more information on human trafficking statistics, go to https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html.