"I participated in a Human Rights program organized by Prevent Human Trafficking in cooperation with American University's School of International Service (SIS). My field is cross-cultural and intercultural communication, and this program was an opportunity to learn more about issues that interest me, but are outside of my field of study and teaching. PHT staff went above and beyond to introduce program participants to the key anti-trafficking organizations in Southeast Asia. We met with top government officials, international and regional NGO leaders who provided a global perspective regarding human trafficking, as well as local activists and development practitioners who helped us to understand the realities on the ground. PHTs network is vast, and each speaker who made a presentation during the three-weeklong program made it a point to acknowledge the impressive work of PHT in Southeast Asia. I believe that PHT plays a particularly important role in training the next generation of international development practitioners and human rights activists by organizing these experiential learning programs that link anti-trafficking work in the United States with similar work Southeast Asia. Rather than imposing solutions from the outside, PHT works in cooperation with local organizations. The summer program in Thailand revealed just how much American students have to learn from the work being done by local NGOs in Thailand, and that cross-cultural exchange and understanding can enhance human rights work. I am grateful to PHT for this rich learning experience."
—Shilpa A. Hart
Assistant Professor, Cross-Cultural Communication, American University
"For a student, there is no better way to explore the issue of human trafficking than to go straight to the source. The trip to Thailand with Prevent Human Trafficking and American University has been one of the most intense learning experiences of my life, not only because I was immersed in the subject, but also because I examined it from very different angles by talking with experts and professionals in the field. Throughout the program, the level of access to individuals and facilities was impressive.The quality and breadth of lectures and presentations has been unmatched in the classroom because we witnessed the stories, the research, the problems and possible solutions first-hand. We were able to examine human trafficking and its relation to national legislation, law enforcement, corruption, poverty and migration, globalization, ethnic tension, and local human rights awareness. The experience was sobering, and it dispelled many of the myths and naive views we tend to hold about a very complex and emotive subject."
“It was beneficial for me to go to Thailand because I was able to be face to face with the issue of trafficking and put faces to the victims. I was most moved by Khun Ja’s shelter for street children in Pattaya. Meeting these children gave me more drive and motivation to work against trafficking and exploitation. Overall, traveling to Thailand and participating in this amazing program was an excellent opportunity for me to meet the key actors in the fight against human trafficking in Thailand.”
University of Maryland, College Park
“During our visit we met with government officials and members of NGOs to study the way in which the agencies interact with one another to fight against human trafficking. We were also able to visit many of the shelters where the victims are being held. Having seen and heard stories of the unspeakable atrocities that these people face in their everyday lives, I am further determined to use my life to make a difference for the better.”
“Actually meeting in person with people such as the Ambassador of the United States, Thai Senators, and with organizations like UNICEF, UNESCO, International Organization for Migration, and many Thai NGOs was invaluable...[ what was] most inspiring of all, however, had to have been playing and talking with the children of the CPCR shelter (Bangkok) and Khun Ja’s shelter in Pattaya.”
The American University
"Despite having done extensive research on human trafficking, and in fact having written my graduate thesis on the topic, it was traveling to Thailand with Prevent Human Trafficking that unveiled the truth behind the myths of human trafficking and showed me the crude reality of the problem. It is scarcely worth reading the limited literature currently available on issues such as the causes and fermenting elements of human trafficking, or the potential solutions to the Îproblemâ, when in most cases the Îproblemâ is barely understood. Such phenomenon is all the more true in Southeast Asia where many of those trying to “help” are westerners unable to view the issues under the correct light and within the right social and cultural context. Prevent Human Trafficking enables its summer program participants to make their own judgments on what the problems are and what solutions work best. Visits to several human trafficking hot spots in Thailand and organized visits with a variety of organizations that utilize different approaches to help victims of human trafficking and to educate government agencies, allow for a well-balanced and comprehensive study of the core issues at play. Human trafficking has become a global epidemic, but one with regional strands that need different treatment if they are to be adequately addressed. Traveling to Thailand, one of the first affected areas, and one with the longest track record in the anti-trafficking movement, presented a unique opportunity to study the birth, development and treatment of the problem and helped me understand how to apply lessons learned and implement best practices to other affected areas in the world."