Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chab Dai & Trafficking

Tuesday morning we spent with Helen who oversees Chab Dai one of the partners that Ratanak funds. Helen and her family have lived in Cambodia for 8 years and has been involved in training and equipping churches and villages to become more aware of child sex trafficking. She is a woman who has a wealth of knowledge through her various experiences here and was responsible for establishing Chab Dai, a coalition of 20 NGOs here in Cambodia that seek to eradicate Child sexual trafficking.

The Ratanak Foundation funds a church & community training program that has so far been targeting the provinces in Cambodia that are located along the Thai/Cambodian border since these areas are the most high risk places for human trafficking. To date over 1100 children and adults in communities, churches and schools have been informed and educated about the issue of trafficking. It was interesting to hear that in the next couple of years a new highway is being built in the northern provinces of Cambodia that will connect to both Vietnam and Thailand. This new highway will provide greater commerce and economic development for those outlying communities but at the same time has the potential to create massive trafficking issues as it is expected this will become a trading zone similar to the Eurozone. The implications of this is quite significant as no one knows to what degrees it will lead to greater statelessness and human trafficking given that it gives traffickers the opportunity to move freely across the borders. Moreover, the potential for AIDS to reassert it self in greater degrees along that highway brings to mind similar problems that is prevalent now in Africa where truck drivers have been partially responsible for the spread of AIDS across borders due to pitstops they make at brothels along the highway routes.

The focus now is to think strategically and be proactive and Chab Dai is seeking to provide further community training in areas that will be affected by this new highway and the economic development that is to come.

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