Thursday, May 23, 2013
Lao PDR is mainly an origin country for mostly Thailand but also destinations such as Malaysia and Singapore. However the country is also becoming a transit and destination place especially for Vietnamese women.
Although Lao PDR possesses many natural resources, a lack of opportunities and alternatives in communities have had an impact on Laotian internal and trans-national migration. The remoteness and lack of basic facilities of some communities as well as gender issues are other important pushing factors.
- Illegal migration and exploitation / human trafficking facilities: The proximity of language, culture and location of Laos and Thailand is a determinant for migration choices. Furthermore illegal migration is prioritized because several reasons make it more convenient and cheaper:
The historical one: communities along the Mekong border used to belong to the same nation with lively trade and exchanges. When Lao became a French colony, communities and families were separated by the Mekong river into two countries. Exchanges occur as before but turn easily to illegal migration that allows traffickers to take advantage of this situation.
The geographical one: Long distances of the border marked by the Mekong river are located in forest and agricultural areas which are easy to cross and difficult to control.
The administrative one: Brokers are much more accessible and cheaper than official passport delivery.
- The deportation situation of Champassak, Lao PDR: Laotians arrested in Thailand are deported to this point by Thai authorities. Among them, many were victims of trafficking who didn’t receive access to protection. A lucrative business grew up aiming to re-traffic deported people.
- Little protection and reintegration: Lao PDR lacks local NGOs. Furthermore authorizations required to go to the field can be obstacle to reach target groups. Reintegration programs undertaken by the few INGOs in place can’t respond to the huge numbers of victims and the needs of alternative development. Consequently many Laotian girls are re-trafficked quickly after repatriation.
To respond to the situation, AAT Reg. Thai has set up a project to protect Laotian women and girls from sexual exploitation and trafficking. It consists of empowering them to develop alternatives based on their choices and to undertake community social actions and prevention.
This pilot project is implemented bilaterally between Thailand and Lao PDR in a referral system way. It involves governmental and non governmental agencies with the National Women’s Union as the main Laotian actor.
AAT Reg. Thai, along with partners, train Laotian victims protected in Thailand for the career they have chosen and according to the needs of their communities. AAT Reg. Thai also provides empowerment trainings to build up their self confidence and self esteem. After repatriation, AAT Reg. Thai works with Laotian partners to strengthen the professional and empowerment skills of the women. Then we support the women to develop careers and undertake prevention and social actions in their communities. We work with them to develop women groups who will be leaders to monitor their communities socially and economically.
We provide direct field activities in a regional approach covering the full process until reintegration as seen in the following graph.
We use grass roots experience to develop mech anisms
Have a look at the complete actions of AAT see
AAT Reg. Thai prevention actions enable women and minors to keep safe from sexual exploitation and trafficking and encourage victims to leave prostitution. Prevention actions are implemented in several ways: We set up systems in communities at risk to prevent vulnerable women and minors from being trafficked and to be able to protect themselves. We detect missing persons and potential victims for protection on their transit stage before reaching their final destination. We disseminate information in strategic places on trafficking and self protection. We encourage and provide new alternatives to the most vulnerable groups of people and the victims themselves.
The program targets women and minors in general, the ones living in communities at risk such as cross border areas, the most vulnerable ones such as stateless persons, or former victims as well as the ones already involved in prostitution. More / Results
We develop techniques to find and protect victims with law enforcement agencies or other relevant agencies. We also participate to develop protection mechanisms to: strengthen the victim identification process, encourage cross-border victim’s protection, and to support embassies to protect their citizens.
More / Results
After been protected from situations of exploitation, AAT Reg. Thai assists victims until their return home. We assist them to access their rights and prepare them for safe return and community reintegration.
We identify the ones kept in detention centers who do not have access to protection and transfer them to adapted centers.
In adapted centers, we provide them with legal support to receive compensations. We also provide them assistance to recover from their mental and physical problems. We then assist them to prepare for their future and build their capacity for community actions. Finally, we prepare them for the different steps of repatriation. More / Results
The role of AAT Reg. Thai is to organize and facilitate repatriation to be safe and convenient for women and minors. AAT Reg. Thai works with both the origin and destination country on preparation, coordination and reception. Our role is to speed up the process, to work in order that victims will be well treated and not be re-trafficked at their arrival. It is also to make sure that their confidentiality will be respected and that they will not be persecuted.
AAT Reg. Thai participates to develop repatriation mechanisms between origin and destination countries and support embassies and relevant agencies for repatriation. AAT Reg. Thai follows up with them just after their return. More / Results