Kit Ripley's Thai Journal
THE COLOR OF HOPE
In the global effort to end human trafficking, it is important to have clear and accurate data about the most recent trends in the constantly shifting nature of this underground crime. Human trafficking involves forcing someone through abduction, fraud or coercion into a situation of forced labor, debt bondage, sexual exploitation or slavery. It is widely believed to be the third most lucrative crime in the world, after illegal arms smuggling and drug trafficking. At the New Life Center Foundation, we work with victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, labor exploitation and trafficking, and girls at risk of exploitation. Today, 74 girls are in our residential care, receiving life skills training, and therapeutic services. Last year, a precious young girl came to live with us. Here is her story:
Kaw-Yah* came from a broken family. Her parents were violent to one another and Kaw-Yah's mother physically abused her as a baby. At the age of three, Kaw-Yah's parents separated, and the child went to live with other relatives, who were also physically and verbally abusive. When she entered the 8th grade, Kaw-Yah was raped by an older teenaged boy.
After that, he forced her to take drugs and to sell drugs for him. Eventually, she quit school and ran away from home. She then befriended two women, who turned out to be sex traffickers. Desperate and in need of income, she succumbed to their persuasion and became a victim of human trafficking.
Kaw-Ya was referred to the New Life Center as a 13 year old, but she had a lifetime of experience. She lacked basic life skills and had behavioral problems. Over the last year, Kaw-Ya has been progressing in her school studies through our non-formal educational program and she is learning new life skills. Kaw-Ya has been working hard with her therapist, and is beginning to understand her own value as a child of God, worthy of dignity and protection. Her behavior is improving, and she is starting to heal under the care of the New Life Center. She loves to come to the group art classes I teach. Not surprisingly, black is her favorite color. But last week, she added some red, green and gold to her picture. I'm taking it as a sign of new hope. Kaw-Ya's favorite activity is going to drum lessons and she dreams of being a musician in the future.
*this name is a pseudonym
If you wish to learn more about global trends in human trafficking, the U.S. State Department just released the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report on June 19. This report contains the most carefully researched, up-to-date information available on trafficking issues in 188 countries. You can access this information, free of charge, at the following link. The report is alphabetized by the name of the country, and broken into alphabetical groupings for easy download as a pdf file. So for example, if you want to read about Thailand, you can click on "Country Narratives: T-Z". Then scroll down to the Thailand report, which falls on pages 6-10. I would encourage you to take advantage of this remarkable resource.
Thank you for your continual outpouring of prayers and financial support that enable me to continue serving in Thailand. With Love, -Kit
American Baptist Int'l Ministries
New Life Center
Chiang Mai, Thailand