Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
PALS operates ADAPT in the South at the Vietnam-Cambodia border and in the North at the Vietnam-China border, where more than 70% Vietnam’s trafficking cases occur. The trafficking victims often come from impoverished, remote, and porous regions. In these regions, families and the community are plagued with high unemployment, limited economic and educational opportunities, and low awareness about human trafficking.
Many women and children in Vietnam’s border provinces and remote areas are trafficked into forced prostitution throughout Asia – including Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Malaysia – or into exploitative labour contracts in Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan, as well as Thailand, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Russia, and the Middle East. There are also risks of bondage and servitude via internationally brokered marriages to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and increasingly South Korea.
The communities that we serve come from marginalized populations where their voices and personal identities can easily be drowned out, making it difficult to reach out to them and raise awareness on the trafficking issue. However, we have been able to partner and collaborate with community stakeholders and government authorities due to our vast experience and knowledge on the ground, as well as, a dedicated staff who is always willing get to know community members and hear their concerns.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Asset-building is PALS's core commitment to power economic opportunities. We have proven that the prevention formula works against trafficking, but it must be comprehensive in its nature and work with all community/family partners. Unlike other scholarships that are one-time handouts, ADAPT employs a comprehensive, individualized, and targeted approach to assist recipients and their families. We work with community partners to identify the most at-risk young girls and women in regions with the highest rates of human trafficking to provide them with the highest level of long-term support.
For each year until graduation from high school, each girl student receives academic support as well as an opportunity to attend summer camp, where she learns important safety and life skills through interactive workshops. Students and their families also participate in Family Day, which emphasizes the preventive role of education. Our comprehensive support continues in the 6 months after graduation during the job placement period, with the goals of increasing their job retention, helping to establish their independent lives, and promoting responsible fiscal habits.
PALS builds close relationships with families to raise their awareness about trafficking risks and to encourage them to keep their daughters in school. A program manager with a large US funding organization said “[PALS] staff knows each family personally, looks after them like a set of den mothers and gives them a level of attention and commitment I have not seen in my ten years working in international development.”