As mentioned in an earlier post Eco-u met mister Villa Kong, general secretary of Cambodia ACTs, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
It was a very informative interview and mister Kong told us about all of the ups and downs within the organisation.
Working to get some rights for children who get trafficked through Asia, fighting for the children who are getting physically or sexually abused every day is not an easy job to do. Not only is it mentally heavy but it is also a physically challenging task. Pushing through the importance of rights for these kids on a daily basis with the government makes you sigh and eats up your energy. Getting people to understand what is needed and why it is so important can be a busy task as well.
So what does Cambodia ACTs do?
“Cambodia ACT focuses on supporting the most vulnerable communities and provinces within Cambodia. Currently we have projects in over 9 provinces working with 14 partner NGO’s.” Working with the 14 NGO’s made the goal and vision of Cambodia ACTs stronger, because every NGO has his own role. It was a very good thing to hear that they split up the roles and every NGO does something that adds to the others. This means that every organisation can focus on his own role and be an expert in that part. Also this means that the funding each of them gets, can go to something they need but also something that another organisation needs. Working together is the best you can do if you want something to change. Eco-u was proud to hear this and we think many organisations can learn from this strategy. Do you have an organisation that is looking for a strategy like this? Contact us and we can help you further along.
“Cambodia ACTs works to fight the issues of trafficking and sexual exploitation in Cambodia. Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country that shares borders with Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. It is across these borders that young people are trafficked daily out of as well as into Cambodia.” And not only it is difficult to find those children when they crossed the border, even if they are found, for example in Thailand, they don’t have the rights because they are Cambodian and not Thai. That is one aspect Cambodia ACTs is now arranging, to get the rights for the Cambodian children when they are trafficked into other countries and ofcourse vice versa.
Mister Kong showed me documents of the New York Declaration. This states the “need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at a global level”. On the website below you can find a more detailed pronouncement. The process of this Declaration started a few months ago, in April. Cambodia ACTs is very happy to see this is finally picked up on a global level. Although it always takes a lot of time, it is a sigh of relief and it will make an impact for all the little souls that bring us our future.
There is also a Seas of Change Project, that educates the schools about the trafficking and exploitation. This way Cambodia ACTs can prevent the criminal activities at the place where children should be safe. And by making school accessible, children are protected throughout the day and parents are less in need to ‘let their children go for a better future’. There are also community learning centres where young people can improve in a subject and find a job that they are interested in. Eco-u finds schooling very important, and not to learn three different words for ‘change’ but to let the children make their own dreams come true and see that life can be full of fun learning experiences that take you further in life. In these countries, school is a safe haven and a place where they get hope again.
One of the main strategies of Cambodia ACTs is the 4P strategy: Prevention, Prosecution, Provision and Promotion.
“Prevention: We prevent child trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse by conducting awareness raising activities and workshops to key members of the society.
Provision: We provide our beneficiaries with essential care and refer them to appropriate social services and psychological counseling according to their needs.
Promotion: We promote changes of policy and work with governmental bodies to advocate for sustainable change.
Prosecution: We work towards the prosecution of perpetrators and ensure victims receive the justice they deserve.”
So all these P’s are immensely important. Not only preventing and prosecuting, but also the process between it. To rescue the children is not the last step. All the care the children need, including the psychological part, is taken care of as well.
So what does Cambodia ACTs need at this moment? A legal team with lawyer-support. Because the funding was less this year, they had to cut the legal team. This team is very important to prosecute the ones behind these criminal activities. But due to the length of a process and the costs from out the government, it was an expensive part on the organisations end. One can notice the people of Cambodia ACTs are very bothered by this and are doing what they can to set it back up again. Do you want to help to catch the bad guys or yell ‘Objection!’ in court? See what you can do financially or as a volunteer together with Cambodia ACTs. Maybe your school can arrange a fund-raiser or maybe your neighborhood can do something fun to help out this organisation. Every coin will help and every bit of energy will come back to you.
Helping out a child is helping out your future.