Suphalee and her sister help raise awareness on dangers of human trafficking
Suphalee, 16, and her elder sister are active World Vision anti-trafficking project volunteers in Atsaphone District in Savannakhet province. Prior to learning about the dangers of trafficking, Suphalee thought, “If someone comes and encourages me to work in another country with a good salary, I don’t think I will refuse it.” Things are different now. “But now that I have the knowledge, I will no longer be swayed by empty promises.”
Sixteen-year-old Suphalee is in year 7 in high school. She lives in Heardokkeo village in Atsaphone district. Atsaphone is at the central part of Savannakhet province where World Vision operates an Anti-Human Trafficking Project.
Around 107 Atsaphone villagers, including 38 women, are now working in Thailand. Their families fear that many of the villagers who left have fallen into the world of modern-day slavery and have ended up in exploitative working conditions.
Prior to the anti-trafficking activities conducted by World Vision in their village, Suphalee had no idea about the possibilities and dangers of trafficking.
“If someone comes and encourage me to work in another country with a good salary, I don’t think I will refuse it,” she said. “But now that I have the knowledge, I will no longer be swayed by empty promises,” she says.
Suphalee understands why many families take their chances.
“Considering the amount they will earn if they go, no one will ever think of the dangers anymore. For them, it is an opportunity,” she says. She acknowledges that they have not been informed about the risks of trafficking. She also points out that the lack of education of the people made them vulnerable to the scheming fronts of brokers.
Suphalee and her elder sister have been active World Vision volunteers for two years.
“I was afraid my sister will also become a victim, so I encouraged her to join the project,” she says. Aside from helping her community know about the perils of human trafficking, she and her sister also learned skills from World Vision anti-trafficking activities such as design, communication and life skills.
She hopes that the anti-human trafficking project of World Vision will also reach other villages. Suphalee recognizes the importance of informing the community to protect their children and themselves should they decide to work in foreign countries.
“They must at least know what documents to prepare and the contact numbers of police and other people who can help them should they get into trouble,” she says.
But for Suphalee, working in another country is no longer an option. She knows the dangers and is sharing them with her friends, her community—and most importantly, her sister.