Thai-Lahu Foundation (TLF) is CEDAR’s partner in Chiang Mai, Thailand. TLF’s director, Pastor Prasang recalled, “One day, a TLF co-worker discovered a group of girls belonging to the Lahu ethnic group from a village situated in the mountain regions of Northern Thailand wandering around the bus stop. The girls were not waiting for bus, but were waiting for something. The confused look on their faces showed that they were not certain what they were waiting for. The TLF co-worker walked up to the suspected coordinator and asked where she was taking the girls to. Shockingly, the coordinator was not sure either. The bus stop was only a transit hub and she only knew she had to take them to an unidentified location. At the end, the TLF co-worker recorded the identity card numbers and addresses of the girls and also of the coordinator, and warned the coordinator to ensure each girl would return to their village safely. The TLF co-worker later checked with the village and was reassured that all girls were safely at home.”
The above is only one in a million cases of human trafficking. It is fortunate that the TLF co-workers discovered the situation, otherwise the girls would have fallen into the hands of human traffickers. In fact it is so common to find teenage girls selling fresh flowers to tourists in the streets of Chiang Mai tourist area. Yet, their customers do not know that these girls are forced into selling flowers and they do not earn any money for themselves. Who would understand the desperation and exploitation that these children are being put through?
The ethnic minorities in Northern Thailand often fall prey to human traffickers, and Lahu ethnic group is a major victim. They live on barren mountainous regions, do not have identity card, lack education, and do not have stable income. They often survive on very little family income. Without any livelihood protection and coupled with the fact that many could not speak Thai, it is no surprise that the human traffickers prey on the Lahu ethnic group.
TLF is working hard to battle human trafficking in Northern Thailand. Pastor Prasang said, “We enter into villages to hold workshops on human trafficking prevention. Through advocacy, we hope villagers will understand how to protect themselves and be on alert.” Moreover, TLF has established an ethnic minority network to strengthen the mutual support among different ethnic minorities, aiming to keep them better prepared for the daily challenges and to make reasonable petition to the government.
Pray for Human Trafficking in Northern Thailand:
- To stop human trafficking in Northern Thailand; for those under captivity to be freed and for those who have escaped to receive God’s comfort and healing, so they could return to their homes and start a new life.
- To show mercy to ethnic minorities living in Northern Thailand who do not have citizenship, and the government will work with NGOs to guarantee basic livelihood, education and working opportunities for these disadvantaged people.
- To guide Thai people and the ethnic minorities in fostering a good relationship filled with peace, love and respect so everyone can enjoy fair treatment.