Most of the Hill tribes in Thailand are stateless, which means that they are not governed by the laws of the country. Because of this, their women and girls are extremely vulnerable to trafficking. In recognition of this problem, Mickey and Anna Choothesa created an organization called the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA) to provide education, intervention, and support to the communities of the Hill tribe.
COSA works closely with the local and international community to prevent child trafficking and to provide services to anyone at risk of trafficking or sexual abuse. Currently, COSA has 20 girls living at the Baan Yuu Suk shelter. These girls range in age from five to 18 years old and have come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some were already involved in trafficking in either sexual or labor work, while others were perceived at high risk because of a sibling or parent who had already been trafficked. The Baan Yuu Suk shelter acts as a safe place for these girls, who are still able to attend school while feeling safe and protected.
At the shelter, the girls are able to attend school every weekday from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. After school and on weekends, they are either able to relax or to participate in exciting activities, depending on the volunteers that come to schedule activities. These extracurriculars can range from workshops, learning Thai or English, crafts, IT skills, to anything volunteers may be interested in teaching. Sometimes the girls are even able to take Thai cooking classes.The organization also often leads information sessions for the volunteers so that they can learn more about child trafficking.
There are numerous opportunities for those interested in volunteering to become involved with this organization. They can work in arts and crafts, construction, campaigning, music, theatre, and more. Volunteers can also get involved by fundraising, researching grants, and gardening at the shelter.
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