The Chai Lai Orchid was created to stop exploitation and trafficking by empowering at risk women.
Each year, young mothers and at-risk girls participate in our program attended English, Thai and computer classes, seminars on women’s health, trafficking and their rights. Because the trainees women are living below the poverty line, they cannot spend their days attending classes when there are mouths to feed, so the Chai Lai Orchid pays each one a fair wage in addition to education expenses, medical supplies and providing food and housing.
About Human Trafficking
One of the most profitable forms of modern day slavery is sex trafficking — the illegal sale of humans for the purpose of sexual exploitation. With widespread poverty across the world, there is no shortage of victims or accomplices to feed this enterprise. In 1809, at the height of the transatlantic slave trade, the average price of a slave was $40,000 (adjusted for inflation). Today it’s only $90. With the cost of a human life so low, these girls have become disposable assets; bought and sold easily, abused and discarded easily. Sex trafficking is now also the fastest growing criminal industry, only second to drug smuggling in terms of profits. Unlike selling an AK47 or a bag of heroin, traffickers generate huge profits by selling a girl hundreds of times. It tends to be a relatively low risk black market trade, as traffickers can always claim the girl is a willing prostitute to avoid jail time. It has been estimated that 10 percent of tourist dollars may be spent on the sex trade. In 2015 Havocscope said that about $6.4 billion dollars in annual revenue was being generated, 10 percent of Thailand's GDP
Ethnic Minorities At-Risk
Trafficking is happening everywhere but it doesn't victimize communities indiscriminately. Indigenous women and girls around the world are experiencing higher rates of physical violence, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and are more likely to attempt suicide. The marginalization of indigenous populations is due in large part to the intergenerational legacy of colonization, which persists in the form of racial discrimination, and poverty, and lack of rights. These are the factors with allow trafficking to thrive. The civil war in the jungles of Burma has forced ethnic minorities such as the Karen and Shan to flee to Thailand to escape ethnic cleansing. Decades of conflict have left Burma one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. In Thailand, many Burmese migrants and hill tribe people are considered illegal and excluded from education, health care, and employment. UNESCO has identified this “lack of citizenship” as the major risk factor to be trafficked or, otherwise, exploited. Burmese and hill tribe women are the most trafficked population in Thailand.
One of the most common tricks that traffickers use to lure young women away from their families is to trick them with the opportunity of employment. With widespread poverty, the idea of being a maid in a big hotel, earning a few dollars a day is an irresistible temptation. Many leave their villages or refugee camps only to find themselves in the clutches of traffickers and held against their will or told that their children will be killed if they try to escape or fight back. It’s an all too common story told time and time again by rescued victims from brothels.
These women clamor for urban jobs in hospitality because they’ve seen how tourism has grown and redefined success. It’s time to turn the tables on the traffickers and harness the vitality of the Thailand tourism industry to empower at-risk girls and women, rather than exploit them. These are the first steps to undermine human trafficking.