Child participation is essential to counter child sexual exploitation
In partnership with the Down to Zero alliance, the Youth Voice for Change Project aims to strengthen children’s voices and build awareness around preventive measures to end child sexual exploitation online. Child participants in the project are able to learn about human rights, human trafficking, and what they can do to prevent being sexually exploited while also developing efficient communication skills.
Armed with new skills and information, the youth groups are able to actively plan their own awareness-raising initiatives. Using different communication channels and styles, they are able to share their voices and become agents of change for other children. One such example led to the creation of numerous online articles, blogs, and video clips for public awareness raising. The materials produced delved into their perspectives on social issues such as human rights, gender inequality, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and early pregnancies.
A community-level child protection committee, targeting teachers and students across Thailand, was also established.
“As a youth leader I have developed my self-esteem, positive thinking, cognitive development and learned how to be a good leader. As a peer supporter, my role was to pass on the knowledge that I gained to others.”
A child advocate, Chiang Rai province, Thailand
ECPAT Foundation received the award for Outstanding Organization for Preventing Human Trafficking
On 6 June 2022, during the “No Victims No Tears” National Anti-Trafficking Day, ECPAT Foundation received the Outstanding Organization for Preventing Human Trafficking award from the Thai Prime Minister for the organisations commitment and dedication to preventing the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
“Children must be given the opportunity to have a say over their own safety”
Ketsanee Chantrakul, Program Manager at ECPAT Foundation
The importance of child protection policies and child-centred approaches
ECPAT Foundation works, in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizational networks, to increase the capacity and efficiency of multidisciplinary teams and law enforcement agencies on child victim centred approaches in Thailand.
In 2021-2022 ECPAT Foundation focused on training professionals working with children on issues related to child protection and the importance of establishing child protection and safeguarding policies at organisation level. The Foundation developed a curriculum on the Participation of Children in Child Safeguarding Policy, with 500 printed copies made available for dissemination across other interested organisations in the country.
Strengthening the capacity building of governmental and private children’s homes in Thailand
ECPAT Foundation also works on the Protecting and Empowering Children from Sexual Exploitation project, which aims at strengthening the capacity-building efforts of private and governmental children’s homes – residential institutions or welfare houses for the care and education of orphans/child victims of sexual violence.
ECPAT Foundation’s team provide training to help organisations in the country to produce child protection policies and procedures (CPPPs) that prioritize children’s experiences. Additionally, they provide training to children on how to protect themselves from sexual exploitation and on channels for reporting.
Ketsanee Chantrakul, Program Manager at ECPAT Foundation said “when children express their opinions and share their ideas over decisions that affect their lives, they are more likely to speak up when their rights are being violated or their safety is in danger”.
The team has recently developed a monitoring tool for child protection policy implementation, adopted by the Chiang Rai Provincial Sub-committee on Child Protection to monitor an operation of children’s homes in the province. The project also assisted six children’s homes and three organisations to raise their existing child safeguarding policy to that of international standards.
About the organisation
Established in 1996, ECPAT Foundation works to promote child participation in public discussions on child protection systems in Thailand. During 2017-2021, ECPAT Foundation has provided trainings to at least 9,500 children and youth advocates across Thailand, to increase their knowledge and understanding of the threats and dangers of child sexual abuse. Learning how to spot the signs is the first step for children to recognise these crimes and report them to trusted adults and the law enforcement. Children are welcomed and supported to become agents of change and influence policies, challenge societal stereotypes, and assist other victims of child sexual abuse.
In 2022, ECPAT Foundation, in collaboration with the Childline organisation and the Hug Foundation, partnered with Twitter to co-organise key awareness-raising events to protect children from sexual exploitation on Safer Internet Day 2022 and International Women’s Day 2022. ECPAT Foundation collaborated with Twitter to develop the hashtag #ThereIsHelp in Thailand to encourage young people at risk of sexual abuse, trafficking or harassment to reach out to ECPAT Foundation (@EcpatFoundation) for help.