DEPDC Thailand25 Mar 2007, by Uncategorized in
DEPDC operates a school and shelter in Northern Thailand for young girls (primarily Burmese and hill tribe ethnic minorities) at extremely high risk for being sold by their parents into sex slavery. Survivors of sex trafficking also live at the DEPDC shelter.
DEPDC’s founder Sompop Jantakra launched the program because he began to notice that all the young girls in his village were disappearing at the age of 10 or 11. He discovered that the children were being sold into prostitution. Firstly their virginity was sold (for about $300) at a hotel in town. This heinous practice involves selling a child to a client for 3-7 days, during which he can do whatever he wants to her, again and again. After this torturous initiation, the girls were then sold to brothels in larger cities, from which many never return.
DEPDC has been replicating their prevention and aftercare program in other villages throughout Thailand, and they operate a national child emergency help-line, as well as a radio station educating people in native languages.
Teenagers at the shelter make hand-woven cotton scarves and table linens, on looms donated by The Emancipation Network. Since these teens are students first and foremost, and thus making handicrafts part-time, production capacity at DEPDC was initially limited. With a donation from a TEN volunteer, we were able to launch a new program for the mothers and other women in the Mae Sai area, thus providing the girls’ families with an alternative to selling their daughters and a further incentive to keep their children in school.