Free To Shine’s commitment to educating to prevent sex trafficking goes beyond the girls in our scholarship program. We also provide community classes to our girls, their family members, neighbours, and broader communities, to teach them about their rights and how to protect themselves and their families from exploitation and abuse.
Know Your Human Rights
Rural Cambodian villagers are often among the poorest and most disenfranchised – many have never attended school and live their entire lives powerless to change their circumstances. Our Human Rights community classes teach that ALL humans have rights, and provide examples of how claiming these rights can lead to improvements in living standard.
Safe Migration (aka “The Dangers of Going to Thailand”)
Irregular, seasonal migration to Thailand is common when employment is scarce in Cambodia. Even working illegally, which most do, income is considerably higher than it is in Cambodia and it allows workers to send money home to repay their debts. The problem is that migrating illegally leaves people in insecure situations where their labour can be exploited, their rights not met, and in some cases, leaves them extremely vulnerable to all forms of human trafficking. We teach the pitfalls of irregular migration so that our girls and their families do not find themselves in situations they cannot escape from.
Sex Trafficking Prevention (aka “The Ploys Sex Traffickers Use”)
After taking our class one of our girl’s mothers said, “I often think if my daughter is given a job in other provinces, it will be so good for me. Before, I lacked the information about sex trafficking because I did not know about it. The Sex Trafficking class has provided me with details on how to identify traffickers and how to keep my daughter safe.”
Preventing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse
In Australia and the United Kingdom, 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the time she turns 16. Child sexual abuse is rarely spoken about in Cambodia but there is little reason to assume it occurs less often than in the West, and in fact Cambodia’s high rates of sex and gender-based violence and low rates of reporting suggest that it may occur even more frequently. We teach our girls and their communities how to recognise situations and people who are potentially unsafe, and how to respond in the event that a child is abused.
Finally, for our girls aged 12 and over we provide Days for Girls, a chance for them to learn about puberty, menstruation and reproductive health from our female Education Officers and Social Workers.