ANNUAL REPORT 2012 Acting For Women In Distressing Circumstances Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire ºö¤¡¾§È¸¨ÀÍõºÁ´È¨ò¤ê†¯½¦ö®À£¾½»É¾¨ ¯½¥¿ì¾¸
Annual REPORT 2012 Care, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child and Women Victims of Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Promotion of a quality protection and care system directed towards child and women victims and at risk of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Lao PDR
Supported by ANESVAD Foundation Somaly Mam Foundation The Asia Foundation The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (AFD) And other private donors
All photographs within this report are accredited to Tessa Bunney unless otherwise stated
JOIN US IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN THE LAO PDR
ARCPPT ASEAN ATD/ATU CPK CSEC DLSW EU FHI GoL HTSE IEC IGA ILO INGO Lao PDR LWU MLSW MOE MoFA MoH MoJ MoU MPS N/P CCA NGO NPA CSEC NTA NSC PCCA PLSW SECW SC SME STD SVK TIP ToR ToT UNDP UNFPA UNIAP UNODC VFI Vte cap Vte prov WVI
Asian regional cooperation to prevent people’s trafficking Association of South East Asian Nations Anti Trafficking Department, Anti Trafficking Unit (in provinces) Champassak (province) Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children Department of Labour and Social Welfare District level European Union Family Health International Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation Information, education, communications Income generating activities International Labor Organization International Non-governmental Organisation Lao People’s Democratic Republic Lao Women’s Union Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Ministry of Education Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Health Ministry of Justice Memorandum Of Understanding Ministry of Public Security National/Provincial Committee for the Control of Aids Non-governmental Organisation National Plan of Action Against Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children National Tourism Authority National Statistics Centre Provincial committee for the Control of Aid Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, province level Sexually Exploited Children and Women Save the Children Small and Medium Enterprises Sexually transmitted diseases Savannakhet (province) Trafficking in Persons Report Terms of Reference Training of Trainers United Nations Development Program United Nation Population Fund United National Inter-Agencies Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub- region United Nation Organisation for the Drug Control Village Focus International Vientiane Capital Vientiane province World Vision International
GENERAL INFORMATION Repatriation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking and Outreach work in the Sexual exploitation sectors - Promotion of a quality protection and care system directed to girls and women victims and at risk of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Lao PDR Country/Geographic Area: The Lao PDR Applicant (official name): AFESIP Laos Head Offices: AFESIP France 1313 chemin de Cuges 83740 La Cadière d’AZUR France Telephone: +33 6 01942236 AFESIP Laos PO Box 3128 Vientiane The Lao PDR Telephone/Fax: +856 21 454 783 / 21 454 198 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date of incorporation: June 2006 MoU signed with the Lao government Legal Nature: French NGO in the Lao PDR Duly authorised representative (legal holder of the project): With donors: Ms Stephanie Cohen, Country Director. With Lao MLSW: Dr Renée Daurelle as president of AFESIP in December 2006 who signed the second MoU 2009-2012 in September 2009. Contact person (daily in charge of the project): Ms Stephanie Cohen, Country Director. Other partners in the target country (official name): Mr Prasith Dethphomadeth, Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Signature : Ms Stephanie Cohen, Country Director
AFESIP ACTION IN LAO PDR - YEAR 2012 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Circumstances) is a NGO combating the causes and consequences of human trafficking for sexual exploitation of children and women in the Lao PDR. In addition to providing holistic care and recovery for those rescued, AFESIP offers vocational training to support sustainable community reintegration. AFESIP‘s work is based on outreach work and prevention; advocacy and campaigning; representation and participation in women's issues at national, regional and international forums. Our most successful action has been, first and foremost, securing and restoring victims’ rights by providing holistic care through a victim centred approach, ensuring long term goals of successful and permanent rehabilitation and reintegration. AFESIP Laos’ main office and the first rehabilitation centre were established in Vientiane in 2006. The second rehabilitation centre was opened in Savannakhet (southern Laos) in March 2009. Our activities cover all aspects of trafficking for sexual exploitation. In a participatory way, the project fosters women and children’s overall well being with practical forms of assistance such as legal, psychological, medical, social services and education. Emphasis is also made on social reintegration through professional skills building and provision of tools to have access to employment or to set up a sustainable small enterprise. Our objectives: • The protection and empowerment of victims and people at risk of human trafficking and sexual exploitation • The sustainable rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration of former victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation Our strategy: • To protect victims of human trafficking through prevention, advocacy, legal support and trainings • To use a victim centred and holistic approach to provide appropriate care and assistance for victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation • To develop and implement regional strategies to repatriate victims and follow up the cases for up to three years • To sustainably rehabilitate and reintegrate former victims and lead them to financial independence and social autonomy towards a new life
THE CONTEXT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND LAOS Rapidly overtaking the trafficking of drugs and weaponry as the chosen market for organised crime in Southeast Asia, the trafficking of human beings has now become the third most profitable criminal industry. Every year, according to UNICEF statistics, over one million young children and women are sold into sexual exploitation and exposed to physical violence, abuse, rape and conditions of extreme physical and psychological cruelty. Protected by corrupt officials and an indifferent public, the phenomenon is growing larger every day. The situation of Southeast Asia, particularly the Mekong sub-region, is especially sensitive, characterised by a fast political and economic evolution and by profound social change. Additionally, law enforcement is largely ineffective;
there are few specialised judges and resources are limited in police and immigration departments. The problem in Laos: Lao children and teenagers, living in one of the poorest countries in the world, and the poorest in Southeast Asia, are particularly vulnerable to the false promises of traffickers. Approximately 60,000 young people try to enter the labour force each year, but employment opportunities are very limited, making migration an attractive alternative for many young people in search of work. By accepting offers of potential high earnings, they could not only support themselves, but their entire family or village. The key contributor to the situation of poverty and vulnerability that affects young women in Laos is the
lack of access to production resources. The Lao textile industry for instance is the biggest nonsource industry in Laos with 30,000 workers in 2011, targeted by ALGI Association of the Lao Garment Industry to increase to 60,000 by 2015. There are more than 100 garment factories; out of that 54 are export factories and members of the Association of Lao Garment Industry - 32 FDI Foreign Direct Investment factories / 13 Joint Venture factories / 9 Lao owned factories (source: Southeast Asia’s textile & apparel industry). According to several observations female garment factory workers in Laos are highly exposed to HIV/AIDS and to human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Work conditions in garment factories, the most common source of employment for Lao women, are so poor that workers are increasingly attracted by the ‘easy money’ promoted by prostitution. According to the AFESIP Laos data, over 30 per cent of young women in prostitution previously worked in the garment industry. Low socio-economic status, low education, low factory wage and high dependency rate at their rural households, coupled with obligations as daughters to provide for the family, can determine their entry into sex work / dependence from others interested in exploiting them. Economical empowerment of women through alternative production resources is fundamental to promote sustainable independence. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 450,000 people are trafficked annually within the Greater Mekong Sub Region. Laos is also severely affected. Human trafficking is not only a cross-border activity but also occurs within the boundaries of the Lao PDR.
Many young people choose to migrate either internationally to Thailand or internally from rural locations to the cities, in search of better economic opportunities. It is believed that about 90% of trafficking from Laos occurs to Thailand, where the majority of victims are girls aged between 12 and 18. Of those people trafficked from Laos to Thailand, it has been estimated that about 35% end up in prostitution, 32% in situations of labour exploitation, 17% in factories and 4% on fishing boats. There have been reported health impacts linked to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. More than 50% of the HIV positive cases within Laos have been located among Lao migrant workers who return from neighbouring countries. This criminal phenomenon is difficult to evaluate and statistics documenting human trafficking in the Lao PDR are very poor.
ACTIVITIES AND STRUCTURES OF AFESIP IN LAOS During Phase I of the project (2006-2009), AFESIP put in place different teams to implement its holistic approach in victim assistance. During this period, AFESIP has built two rehabilitation centres for women and girl victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The first one was established in Vientiane, capital of the Lao PDR, in 2006, and the second built in Savannakhet, southern Laos next to the Lao-Thai border in 2009. They can accommodate up to 60 victims at full capacity. The centres were the first structures of this kind in Laos. Phase II of the AFESIP project (2009-2012) expanded AFESIP’s activities and focused on the quality development of victim assistance services to improve the victims’ protection, care and reintegration process. Two technical departments have been established with two main objectives: 1. The protection and empowerment of victims and people at risk of human trafficking and sexual exploitation The protection and empowerment department is composed of four teams: • Prevention and Outreach team in charge of prevention activities for women in sexual exploitation and communities at risk. • Legal Protection team providing legal support to victims to access justice and for recognition of their rights. The team also ensures capacity building of local authorities for law enforcement and rescue operations, together with the local police. • Communication and Advocacy team responsible for setting up campaigns, tools, quality information supports and IEC materials for AFESIP’s different target groups. Photograph bottom left: AFESIP Laos
• Database team collecting all relevant data concerning AFESIP target groups to provide a reference database on women and children victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Laos. 2. The sustainable rehabilitation and socioeconomic reintegration of former victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation The department of socio-economic reintegration includes direct services to AFESIP beneficiaries: • Two rehabilitation centres providing psychological support, care, education and vocational counselling. • The team responsible for Vocational Training and Reintegration composed of social workers following up and evaluating the socio-economic situation of the beneficiaries and supporting their sustainable reintegration into society. • AFESIP Social Enterprise and Training Centre currently consisting of two beauty shop-training centres in Vientiane and Savannakhet, proposing training in hairdressing and beauty to AFESIP beneficiaries while developing in parallel the beauty salon as a small social enterprise in order to ensure the sustainable reintegration of former victims. The beauty salon in Vientiane was entirely revamped in August 2012. Phase III of the AFESIP project in Laos (2012-2015) is being prepared and will aim at strengthening the rights of victims and prevention of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the communities at risk, improving capacities and structures of AFESIP rehabilitation centres, the development of AFESIP social enterprise, vocational training and incomegenerating activities for the beneficiaries.
GENERAL FOREWORD FOR YEAR 2012 During the past year AFESIP together with the MLSW, our main counterpart, and partners have renewed our commitment to the fight against human trafficking in the Lao PDR. This annual report highlights some of our activities and achievements in 2012 to sustain former victims of slavery, and to prevent more women and children in the Lao PDR from being trapped in situations of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
New President, new Country Director, and new Members in the Assembly 2012 brought important changes in AFESIP. Some of the most significant being the appointment of the new Country Director, Ms Stephanie Cohen, and the election of a new board and President by the General Assembly. In November 2012, the General Assembly elected Mr Claude Pretot as new President of AFESIP Laos.
Main achievements of AFESIP programme in the Lao PDR in 2012 During the year 2012 saw the finalisation of Phase II of the AFESIP project (20092012) concentrating on the quality development of victim assistance services to improve the victimsâ€™ protection, care and reintegration process. 2012 also saw the completion of the establishment of 27 HT Village Watchdog Committees and the reinforcement of the prevention component with prevention messages dissemination in villages at risk in two provinces and 6 districts in the Lao PDR. An important legal action came to a successful conclusion with three families now awaiting for the implementation of the court sentence that see the rights of their daughters recognised and a 15-year prison sentence enforced on the Lao woman found guilty of trafficking the girls to Thailand for the purposes of prostitution. A new shelter opened in January 2012 in Vientiane and as every year, the activities of our two shelters in Vientiane and Savannakhet continuously ensure health services and psychological counselling, as well as education and vocational training to former victims of human trafficking. Activities assisted by our teams. Throughout the year, our outreach social workers undertook their daily work, identifying and rescuing women and children forced in prostitution as modern slaves, especially in Savannakhet and Vientiane.
Following restructuring undertaken in 2011, to ensure better efficiency of the project and improve the quality of delivered services in the best interest of the beneficiaries, 2012 saw the organisation improving its impact and hardly work in the area of sustainability.
Financial overview AFESIP’s programme in the Lao PDR was supported in 2012 by two main donors: ANESVAD Foundation (Spain) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs MOFA (France). Other public and private donors have supported specific projects: Somaly Mam Foundation (USA), The Asia Foundation, Free Hills Foundation (Singapore), WIG Vientiane (Laos), CODIP (France). During the whole year, AFESIP’s training centres and social enterprise (2 beauty salons in Vientiane and Savannakhet) continued their activities and generated incomes to run sustainably by themselves The income from AFESIP beauty shops and IGA were also used to be reinvested in the social activities and to contribute to the financial sustainability of the organisation. The total budget of the project for the year 2012 was € 476,907 (US$ 629,470). The table below shows a breakdown per activity for 2012 budget expenditure.
2012 Budget expenditure - Breakdown per activity Outreach and Prevention Legal support / Access to justice / Capacity building within government Shelters and Rehabilitation / Database Vocational training / Reintegration Monitoring and Evaluation Fundraising and Communications Administrative and Management costs 18% 25%
15% 5% 5%
PROTECTION AND EMPOWERMENT OF CHILDREN, WOMEN AND AT RISK POPULATIONS OF HTSE Outreach, prevention and awareness-raising AFESIP outreach team met with sexually exploited children and women in bars and other entertainment venues such as karaoke bars, restaurants, and guest houses in four provinces and organised one rescue operation together with AFESIP legal team, the police and Social Welfare authorities. • 547 Sexually Exploited Children and Women (SECW) were interviewed by AFESIP outreach team in 519 entertainment places1, • 2,710 SEWC were provided health and legal information sessions, • 2,963 IEC materials, 71,773 condoms and 1283 hygiene materials were distributed, For the prevention and awareness training activities run in the villages: • 30 villages have been kept as target villages for piloting AFESIP prevention activities in six districts of two provinces (Luang Prabang and Vientiane). • In 27 of them, Watchdog vigilance committees have been trained two times. • 3,189 persons have been sensitised through prevention activities run in the villages.
Rescue missions in collaboration with the ATU police On April 2012, the rescue operations were suspended to re-adjust our protocols of intervention with the police. Only one isolated action took place, due to the urgency of the situation: in October we learned that due to the strength of the police presence and actions in Vientiane in occasion of the ASEM meeting, many sex workers were moved from illegal brothels to the owners ‘private houses’. We learned that among them there was Miss Nick, 14 year old, a suspected victim of trafficking who had attempted to get in touch with our social workers to escape from the situation in which she was forced. When we lost contact with Nick, (girls often change their phone SIM card) AFESIP involved the police and provided them with all the collated information and with a budget to sustain investigations. 1On average 1.5 interview per bar. Those interviews are the in-deep interviews led by the outreach team. It takes time and often cannot be done during the first visit and especially when the bar owner is there. The outreach team gather information on all the girls but is often able to really interview only a few of them to get more specific details.
Unfortunately, despite the several meetings we had with the ATU police that followed and the continuous effort of our legal and outreach team put in to solve the case, the police failed to show concrete support and efficiency. They labelled the case as one of prostitution and they affirmed that Nick didn’t want to stop prostitution and that she was even complicit by bringing more girls from her hometown to the brothel. Our outreach and legal team continues to look for parallel contacts of acquaintances and friends in order to find Nick. This action proved the need for the new protocol we are currently defining, together with the finalisation of a new agreement with the ATU police. This would work to improve the success of rescue operations, current protocol leaves operations at the initiative of the individual, often a policeman that is not adequately trained for completion of such work. This situation reaffirms the importance of legal advocacy and the need to extend appropriate training to all the authorities involved. Discussions about rescue actions is still ongoing. Rescue activities will be resumed as soon as the conditions prove safe for all subjects involved.
Access to justice and legal protection AFESIP Laos is dedicated to combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and women in Laos. AFESIP Laos’ Legal Team supports victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and those at risk of these crimes, by: • Facilitating access to justice for victims of human trafficking • Providing legal education and training to government authorities, bar owners and communities • Providing legal education and support to all AFESIP beneficiaries • Advocating for Lao criminal law and procedure that protect victims’ rights and for harmonisation of criminal law and procedure with international standards. Increased access for yictims of human trafficking to the justice system has remained one of the main aims of our organisation and our activities have been realised during this period as a direct result of a greater cooperation with other stakeholders.
For this reason, we have drawn special attention to our cooperation with International Organisations such as UNODC and UNIAP, with NGOs like VFI and with international diplomatic actors including the US Embassy, for the protection of the rights and freedoms of the citizens, through constitutional and legal instruments. All girls assisted by AFESIP Laos’ Outreach and Prevention team are further offered support from our Legal department. The Legal team works with each girl to identify whether they are a victim of a crime which can be prosecuted under Lao law. Every AFESIP beneficiary is provided with legal advice and support and is empowered to make her own choice with respect to seeking access to justice through the Lao legal system. As part of the healing progress, it is important that beneficiaries are informed about their legal options and the services available to them. If an AFESIP beneficiary wants to seek access to justice, the Legal team initiates the legal process through preparation of a brief to the police. The Legal team monitors the progress of each case and maintains regular contact with the authorities until the matter is determined by the Lao court system. The Legal team is also available to assist beneficiaries with any other legal issues that may arise. Only a small number of trafficking-related prosecutions have occurred under Lao law, with few resulting in convictions of traffickers or compensation for victims. During the reported period, the entire set of legal activities have been revamped, reorganised and improved by the legal team leader and her team, with the support of volunteer attorney from Australia. The number of cases brought to justice by AFESIP during year 2012 is: • 14 cases, that were still open at the end of 2012, are either in the hands of our legal team or under police investigation. • 3 cases have been followed-up by the prosecutor and 2 that are at court level. • 2 cases were closed at police level with an agreement between the victim and the trafficker • 2 victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation received compensation under Lao law. • 1 trafficker have been sentenced to 15 years in jail and fined.
Capacity building and information sessions towards law enforcement AFESIP has organised capacity building activities
for government partners and AFESIP staff. Training, workshops and coordination meetings on the subject of human trafficking and legal and medical issues have worked to strengthen AFESIP partnerships, while establishing an appropriate referral system and reinforcing the law. • 73 government staff members attended 3 legal training sessions on human trafficking laws, labour laws and women and children’s rights. • Number of information sessions for bar owners: 3 • Number of bar owners informed: 45 • AFESIP organised regular coordination meetings and workshops with authorities. • Specific meetings with relevant authorities were organised including meetings on the definition of rescue operation process. After assessment indicating a lack of knowledge on the law within owners of exploitative places and in order to promote law enforcement, AFESIP developed legal information sessions aimed towards bar owners to warn them of the existing laws on human trafficking, sexual exploitation, labour and women and children rights. • In 2012, 300 bar owners were identified to participate in legal information sessions • 3 training sessions with 45 bar owners participating were organised
Advocacy AFESIP strongly advocates the recognition of victims’ rights and raises awareness about the causes and consequences of human trafficking in Laos, through participation and organisation of major events and by actively partaking in human trafficking networks at national level: • Participation in the permanent Anti-Trafficking Working Group (led by UNIAP) and Child Protection Working Group (led by UNICEF) in Laos. • Active participation in the first National Campaign against Child Trafficking coordinated by UNIAP. • AFESIP as a reference project on HTSE, having unique expertise in this field in the country, has been constantly consulted for advice by the Lao government and other organisations working on HTSE issues in the Lao PDR. • AFESIP develops and disseminates appropriate IEC materials adapted to different target audiences in order to promote women and children’s rights, anti-trafficking laws and prevent HIV/AIDS, STDs and reproductive health issues.
REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN, VICTIMS OF HTSE Rehabilitation and Recovery During 2012, AFESIP provided protection and care for female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Lao PDR or repatriated from Thailand. Providing shelter based psychological, medical, legal and social services as well as access to education and vocational training. Several victims and their families received direct support from AFESIP within their communities. Between January 2012 and December 2012: • 56 new residents were welcomed into the two shelters throughout 2012. 53 of them exited the shelter during the year. • Beginning of January 2012, the shelters residents totalled 15, which had increased to 18 by the end of December 2012. • 96 health consultations were supported by AFESIP for shelter residents, benefitting 38 girls. • 33 health and information provision sessions were held in the shelters that benefitted 38 shelter residents (health staff providing information on HIV/AIDS, STDs, reproductive health, mother and child health, etc). • 54 basic legal training sessions for 84 AFESIP shelter residents and beauty shop trainees were provided. • 11 residents agreed to stay at the shelter longer term to attend primary or secondary school outside of the shelter. • AFESIP provided vocational training to 33 beneficiaries in VTE and SVK.
• A total of 326 cases were discussed during monthly case management meetings. • 33 beneficiaries were reintegrated during the period after long term stays in the rehabilitation centres, either in their community or in urbanised areas. These victims of trafficking now have a new life and are financially independent. • Among them: 18 were reintegrated after training, but without support (no provision of a business starter kit), 7 were reintegrated with support to run a small enterprise (with starter kits provided), 27 were reintegrated to positions of employment. • 35 girls and women were reintegrated after short term stays at the shelter (depending on the wishes of the beneficiaries and their families) and received support from AFESIP. • 248 follow-up visits were completed by AFESIP reintegration team of Social workers were received by victims and their families (includes all reintegrated victims, some of them were reintegrated 2 years ago or more). • 8 siblings of victims were supported to go to school. • 43 families in need were supported by AFESIP (rice support/health support). • 17 victims were supported to obtain an identification card. • 126 socio-economic assessments were led in the communities of origin of the beneficiaries
STRUCTURAL AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS The activities of AFESIP project undertaken in 2012 were similar to those of the previous period. AFESIP project has recurrent activities, for example victim identification, outreach work, prevention and legal assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration. The continuation of the past action, activities in 2012 were conducted, but with a few improvements and modifications made, these included: • Enhanced cooperation with other NGOs and IOs and participation in campaigns and common actions. • Development of a formal referral system with other NGOs (ongoing) • Development of a strong legal department within AFESIP, planned legal trainings for government authorities, bar owners and victims in the shelters. • Regular case management meetings with the MLSW, police ATU and other partners, to review all cases with AFESIP. • Concentration of the outreach activities within geographical focus of Vientiane Capital to allow better capacity building for local staff, prior to replication and expansion of activities.
Rehabilitation centres • A new, welcoming shelter, located in a beautiful protected house in Vientiane opened in January 2012. At full capacity the shelter can welcome 25 residents. • AFESIP reintegration team office is now located at the Vientiane shelter premises. This was to allow the team of Social workers to know the residents better, which assists in the reintegration process.
Education • Establishment of core budget support to some victims or their siblings to attend school in their community • 19 former victims received Somaly Mam Fund scholarships (7 at university, 3 for non formal education, 9 for secondary school), 2 became AFESIP staff member in a shelter, 1 assisted for legal and 1 volunteer for a shelter (while having a study grant from the Somaly Mam Foundation to study at the university). • 11 residents of the shelter attended primary or secondary school in the shelters’ neighbourhood which led towards better integration and socialisation.
Outreach, prevention and legal teams
Health and psychological intervention
• Increase in the number of ‘Out of the bars activities’ with SECW. • The additional of a prevention officer, to oversee prevention activities including regular contact with the Watch Dog Vigilance Committee members and to monitor the monthly situation in the villages piloting the network.
• Health protocol and policy draft under review by authorities and were partly applied in AFESIP. • The team finalised the partnership agreement with Mother and Child Health Hospital for access to treatmentl. Signed in June 2012. • Health issues as consequences of TIP for sexual exploitation start to be integrated in trainings provided to government counterparts.
Vocational training • A vocational training officer followed up and evaluated the results of trainees and trainers, then sought employment for the victims after they have completed their vocational training and apprenticeship period. • The length of the vocational training programme have been extended from 3 months to 4 months, plus 2 months for apprenticeship.
Reintegration team During the reported period, telephone communication was utilised 861 times with families and victims resulting in less field visits. Support for access to school for siblings of beneficiaries was provided. New items were added to improve the reintegration policy including re-evaluation of the needs of the beneficiaries during the first months of reintegration; assessment of their skills during the follow-up period post reintegration in order to offer the possibility of skill advancement by secondary training.
Database • The database officer in cooperation with the database consultant worked at improving the database structure for 2012-13. • An internal training on data collection and data transmission will be held soon.
Advocacy and Communication The project Article 25 “Advocating for reinforcement of the rights of children and women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Lao PDR” is still ongoing. Many activities have been run with UN agencies and other stakeholders to achieve a common action in advocacy and law enforcement. The implementation of these networking actions has allowed inter-agency and other partners to draw several lessons, highlighting both the strengths of anti‐trafficking advocacy activities as well as identifying gaps for improvement of future activities.
Sustainability, replicability and handover to the government The Lao Government was placed in Tier 2 in the 2007 and 2012 U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Reports for not fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking, even though making efforts to do so. A severe lack of skills and resources remains the biggest challenge hindering the government’s ability to combat trafficking in persons, thus it remains dependent on the international donor community to fund anti-trafficking activities. Furthermore, there are reports of local government officials who are complicit in trafficking and/or that protect traffickers from being brought to justice thanks to a broad and deep rooted system of corruption systemic throughout Laos. Finally, the local authorities involved in the daily implementation of project activities need often empowering in their sense of responsibility as their working conditions are sometimes pretty unjust and with it their commitment relatively low (with few brilliant exceptions). Wages within all government sectors ls in Laos are still extremely low and many officials rely on INGOs and International Organisations programmes for economic support. Within such a framework and within this phase, it was not considered an optimum time for AFESIP to handover of the project to local authorities effectively. Transferring each of the activities currently undertaken by the project team to local agencies. A new MoU is under draft for a third phase of AFESIP project 2013-15, that will allow the organisation to reinforce and strengthen the capabilities of local authorities to gradually take the lead of the whole range of AFESIP activities in the future. In the meantime, several efforts have been made to reinforce the cooperation with the local authorities. Several of the main objectives related to the reported period are as follows: • Regular meetings held with the MLSW to discuss the main aspects and decisions related to AFESIP activities against trafficking; • Involvement of MLSW, PLSW and DLSW officers in all the activities run in the field; Government officers are always accompanying AFESIP staff in the field, and participate with the organisation monitoring of activities (prevention, outreach, reintegration…). • Agreement signed with the National Mother and Child Hospital for involving local medical staff in our medical assistance service and for exchange training moments and good practices with them; • Collaboration agreement with ATU police
department under draft; Meeting held with National University of Laos (NUOL), Faculty of Social Science to discuss involving AFESIP in their curriculum; Participation in a workshop held by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) supported the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) about the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). To review the ICPD Beyond 2014 and to identify progress and achievements towards the goals set out in the landmark ICPD; Taking into account the specificity of AFESIP we covered the following sessions: internal and international migration and urbanisation, reproductive health/rights, health, population, development and education, gender equality, equity and empowerment of women. We also conducted special sessions with NGOs and NPAs; Participation in a workshop held by the National Mother and Child Hospital on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) of HIV/AIDS; Participation in the MLSW Exchange Meeting with international organisations on current and planned support to Child Protection and Assistance Committees (at provincial and district level) and village level Child Protection and Assistance Networks (CPNs). The meeting, hosted by Save the Children, was the first relating to this theme that the government had actively participated in since 1993. Participation to the 1st Southeast Asia Pro-Bono Conference on “Developing pro bono initiatives to strengthen access to justice in the Southeast Asia Region and Internationally”. Organised by BABSEA CLE in cooperation with the National University of Laos Faculty of Law and Political Science and Lao Bar Association. Active participation in the UNIAP SSI initiative.
Photographs: AFESIP Laos
IMPORTANT INITIATIVES AND RESULTS RELATED TO THE QUALITY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS Project development New organisation of AFESIP’s structure was put in place in 2011. Therefore, new logframes, workplans, procedures and guidelines were finalised for 2012 and will have a positive impact on the quality of services provided to our beneficiaries. In conjunction with these changes, the monitoring and follow up system for all AFESIP activities will ensure an improved program management.
Project participatory process • Participatory process and discussion together with AFESIP staff on the improvement of policies and procedures; • Participatory consultation with all the Outreach social workers on “Outreach Do’s and Don’ts” document under draft; • Participatory consultation and related workshop with the Protection and Empowerment team on reporting, budget documents and procedures; • A participatory process involving national and local authorities, together with communities, lead to the creation of watchdog committees in villages/districts at risk, to ensure better community self-protection.
ANNEX 1 A TRAFFICKER JAILED THANKS TO AFESIP! AFESIP lawyers have obtained a 15-year sentence against a Lao woman found guilty of trafficking two girls from her own village into prostitution in Thailand. Noy and Tuk (not their real names) are originally from a small farming village on the Mekong River, just outside Vientiane. The girls had left school early to help their families on the land but in April 2010, when they were 16, the woman approached them and offered them jobs as waitresses in a restaurant in Thailand. She told them they could earn high salaries, and that her own daughters were working there assuring the girls that conditions were good. After some persuasion the girls agreed. Another girl Lot, 15, was used as “bait” to lure the girls to go with her.
Noy and Tuk discovered too late that they had been conned. All three girls and their mothers were taken by boat at dawn across the Mekong with no identity papers or money. In Thailand they were taken to the home of the trafficker’s sister, and from there to the home of a third woman who owned the karaoke bar where they were forced to work as sex workers. On arrival at the bar the terriﬁed girls were locked in a single room for two days. They were then given seductive clothing and ordered to begin work. Altogether there were four Thai girls and six Lao girls – two of them indeed were the trafficker’s own daughters, but this was not the waitressing job Noy and Tuk had been promised. For a full year the girls were kept captive in the karaoke bar, and had to take between eight and ﬁfteen clients a night. They worked through the night, usually going to sleep around 4am. But if a client arrived after they’d gone to sleep they were woken up and ordered to work. The girls were not paid other than with the occasional tips from clients. The salaries they were promised were only rarely sent to their families back home. Thankfully Noy, Tuk and Lot reported that there was little physical violence during their months at the bar, except when one girl escaped and the rest were beaten as a warning. Then one day a policeman came to the bar posing as a client. The bar was closed and the girls were rescued. Although the bar owner too got away. During the police investigation, the girls were kept at a safe house for ten months, until ﬁnally they were able to return back to Laos. Vientiane authorities alerted AFESIP to the girls‘ plight. Nuk and Toy bravely agreed to report the woman in their own village who had trafficked them. AFESIP lawyers took up their case against the woman. The girls, meanwhile, stayed at an AFESIP shelter, where they had access to health care, psychological support and vocational training. Throughout 2012, AFESIP’s legal team pursued the case together with the ATU police and finally at the beginning of 2013 the woman trafficker, aged in her 50’s, was sentenced to a 15 year in prison and fined 100 million Laotian kip (US$12,629 / €9,370).
ANNEX 2 A STORY OF SURVIVAL Eighteen year old Pern (not her real name) has a lot to look forward to, largely thanks to AFESIP. In recent months she has secured a new job as an assistant chef in a restaurant in Vientiane. It’s a job she loves. She earns 500,000 Laotian kip (US$64 / €47) per month and the restaurant’ owner have promised to raise her salary if she continues in her job. Pern says her bosses have shown her nothing but kindness, paying for her accommodation and food ,and even providing her with a motorbike to travel to work. Today Pern is a busy and happy young woman. But Pern’s future wasn’t always so bright. She grew up in a very poor family in Vientiane’s Naysaythong district. Her parents couldn’t afford to keep her in school. At the age of ten, before the end of her primary education, Pern had to leave school and help her family pick rice and bamboo shoots on a local farm. Her parents had four other children to feed, one of them with a mental disability. So when Pern saw an advertisement for a job as waitress in Thailand, at the age of 16, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. The job offered 3,500 Thai baht (US$112 / €83) in a karaoke bar in the Southern Province of Thrang. She was even given an advance of 3,000 Thai baht (US$96 / €71) to cover the journey. Pern discovered too late that it wasn’t the job she was promised. She had fallen victim to human traffickers. She found herself working as “masseuse” in a bar that employed underage prostitutes. All her clients were men and her meager wage was not even enough to pay her travel back home to Vientiane. Only when police raided the bar and arrested Pern and 11 other Lao girls,was she able to leave. The bar owner was arrested for running under age prostitution. The girls over 18 years old were fined 200 Thai baht (US$6 / €5). Pern and other underage girls were sent to a governmental transit centre. Thai police assessed her case to be one of human trafficking. On her return to Vientiane, Pern’s case was referred to AFESIP which offered her shelter and vocational training. In the months in which she started her career as a chef, her life has turned around. Today she earns a big enough salary to send money back home to her family. She says she has no wish to leave. Pern now dreams of a day when she can own a small piece of land where she can have a house and her own restaurant. Her parents and grandparents are all proud of her. She says she feels safe knowing her family is now aware of the risk of sending their children to Thailand, and feels her younger brothers and sisters are now safe from the risk of human trafficking.
AFESIP Laos, No 262, Unit 36, Saphanthongneua village, Sisattanak district, PO Box 3128 Vientiane, the Lao PDR Telephone/Fax: +856 21 454 783 / 21 454 198 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.afesiplaos.org www.facebook.com/afesiplaos