Hi!Just a little background for you on how this all came about:In 2011, with the support of Spout Springs Church, Stephen Schiffman gave up his commission in the Army JAG Corps to serve with International Justice Mission in Cambodia as a lawyer. While in Cambodia, Steve and his team helped secure a 100% conviction rate, successfully taking down 20 sex traffickers. His wife Kim volunteered at Hard Places, one of IJM's partners in Cambodia. Hard Places is a community located in the heart of Phnom Penh whose main goal is to prevent child sex trafficking. When the Schiffmans were in Cambodia, their boys' center was just opening up and had about 20 children. Today, the facility sees over 200 children, many of which have been trafficked or at a high risk of being trafficked. They have plenty of space, but are in dire need of trained workers and supplies.This is where you come in!
The Walk Against Traffick was created by Hard Places as a way to raise awareness and funding for their facilities.Exactly what will the money be used for?
Funds raised through Walk Against Traffick will be used directly to help stop child sex trafficking. Stopping sex trafficking involves, but is not limited to, the following:
Prevention. Walk Against Traffick has parked our organization smack in the middle of some of the biggest intersections for child prostitution in South East Asia. We've done it by starting Kids' Clubs, which are sweet, safe havens where a kid can come and be a kid again, if only for a few hours each day. We dream of having these clubs all across the continent in the darkest, most vile places of sex trafficking. Through Kids' Club, children and teens can come and learn that their bodies were not meant for such horrific acts of violence against them, and that there is a hope and a future for each one of them. They can learn English and life skills that can help provide money for their families. They can learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy, between safe touch and un-safe touch, between good and evil. They can practice social and developmental skills in a caring environment where these are modeled through loving example. They can come and learn to be kids again.
Staffing. Without our incredible staff, we've got nobody to get in the way of the pedophiles who come to take our children! W.A.T. currently employs both international and local staff, with the emphasis being placed on empowering the local people to reach their own. Our desire is to train, equip, and raise up leaders among South East Asians, with us Western trainers fading into the background as soon as possible.
Research. Without the research, we've got no statistics to fuel the fire that keeps going long after we are ready to stop! When we hear that two fifty-year old men have come into our city and taken a 7 and a 9-year-old for sex, we get fired up!!! As long as there is demand, there will be product. As long as there are pedophiles, there will be children for sale. W.A.T. has employed a team to do the most up-to-date research available in some of the most noted areas of child prostitution. Our researchers will gather data that is useful to both local authorities and Western justice agencies, in hopes of slowing down the demand.
Punlok Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center for Boys. In a city having many opportunities for sexually exploited girls to be restored, Phnom Penh is lacking in similar services for the many young boys who are sold for sex on a regular basis. That is why the HPC has launched "Punlok Thmey" (poon-lock ta-my), a drop-in center just for boys. Our center offers the same services provided by in-patient after-care, but in an out-patient setting, allowing the boys to stay within their own homes, when safe, or in their own communities when at all possible. Punlok Thmey targets boys 5-24 who are at risk of being trafficked, sexually exploited, and subjected to forced labor. We provide programs such as English and computer classes, counseling, play groups, sports programs, Kids Club, and family social work to promote boys who are healthy, well-balanced, confident and employable. We believe that these programs will help those we serve to break the cycles of poverty and abuse resulting in a positive social impact for their communities.
Prook Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center for Girls. Sometimes when a girl has been freed from sexual slavery, the girl is so traumatized, so overly sexualized, or so accustomed to life on the streets that she will not stay in an after-care facility with high walls and a guard at the gate. That is why we have adopted the day center model used at Punlok Thmey to our new safe house and girls center called Prook Thmey (prook - ta-my), or New Mornings in English. Our goal at Prook Thmey Prevention and Restoration for Girls is to see every girl who has been sexually abused set free, and to prevent those who have not yet been sold from being sold. We do this through a daily Kids Club program in the public park, where the girls learn, like the boys mentioned above, about decision-making, choices, hope, love, and relationship. We also use art therapy, where the girls can slap their pain onto a canvas and bring the shame into the daylight.