A year ago, Lamai stood barefoot on the sidewalk in Thailand. This three-year-old gripped a rusty aluminum can in her tiny fingers. She was the smallest child on the block, but it was impossible to dismiss her bright eyes as she thrust the container at any person or group that passed by her. Every day she would beg until dusk and then count the coins she earned and give them to her trafficker. This little girl, unsupervised on the street in a crowded city, was extremely vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation. But Lamai had no other option and no one to protect her.
Lamai continued to beg every day until the government enforced a new policy created to discourage child begging rings. Highly dense homeless populations were creating dangerous situations where impoverished children were being trafficked for labor and sex. When Lamai’s trafficker was arrested, officials contacted Rapha International to provide the critical care she would need.
Lamai arrived at Rapha’s aftercare campus extremely malnourished. She immediately received stable food support, medical care, and counseling services. She began to learn life skills, such as personal hygiene and how to use eating utensils. Lamai began to thrive and was so excited to go to school for the first time. Her favorite thing to do at Rapha is to swing on the playground and jump on the trampoline with the other girls!