Nan is a junior in high school in Thailand, and the oldest of four siblings. COVID-19 had an incredibly detrimental impact on the small businesses in her community, including her own family’s local restaurant. Her parents faced creditors demanding their only vehicle and anything else they owned in exchange for additional time on their loans. When Nan’s father turned to alcoholism to cope with financial stress, she began consulting with a friend about potential jobs in the area. Her friend shared that she earned income by reviewing products online and persuaded Nan to join her. Out of great desperation to take care of her family, Nan fell for the lies of her friend, who turned out to be a recruiter in an organized gang. Within only a month’s time, Nan became a victim of sexual exploitation, and she found herself trapped in a devastating and traumatic situation.
Nan is not alone. Online sexual exploitation is on the rise globally, and has disastrous consequences for survivors- often destroying their privacy throughout their lives. As developing world law enforcement becomes more adept in fighting cybercrime, more underage survivors are being rescued and criminals are being prosecuted. Rapha International works directly with the Royal Thai Police in providing aftercare for children who have been victimized through this heinous form of trafficking.
After Nan’s exploitation was discovered, local authorities interceded and brought her to Rapha’s Aftercare Campus. Our staff began helping her deal with the deep sadness and depression that resulted from the severe trauma she had endured. At Rapha, Nan’s basic needs were met through security and high-quality nutrition. She received counseling and education. Staff surrounded her with care and Nan began to build new friendships and feel safe. She learned she was not alone. Today, Nan’s favorite activity is cooking class, and she also loves helping the cook prepare food for the other survivors each day. Her dream is “to be a successful chef so that I can help support my parents and my siblings.” Because of your support, Nan is not only able to heal from exploitation but prepare for a future where she can choose to live her life in sustainable freedom!