This project is going to examine ways through which the problem of child prostitution in Thailand can be addressed. Child prostitution is one of the major issues, which have continued to violate the rights of children. The practice is common in South East Asia, and catastrophic in Thailand. Popular education as advocated by Freire (2000) will be used in addressing this problem.
Target Rights Issue
This project is aimed at addressing the problem of child prostitution in Thailand. Child prostitution in Thailand is a problem that has attracted international attention because of its infringement of the rights of the girl child. Underage girls in Thailand have been sold to brothels by their relatives, or abducted. In these brothels, these underage girls are subjected to sexual abuse. In addition, they are normally prohibited from leaving these brothels, a factor that violates their freedom of movement.
These girls also suffer other abuses such as beatings, which are normally done in order to coerce them to comply with the demands of clients. Child prostitution in Thailand also thrives because of western pedophiles who normally offer hundreds of dollars in order to have sex with these girls. The perpetrators of this trade normally sell the virginity of these children to the highest bidder.
Objectives: Goals of the project
The aims of this project are two: firstly, this project is aimed at sensitizing families, children, authorities, the general public and all other people involved in child prostitution, about its negative impacts on the rights and health of children. Secondly, the project aims at putting to end child prostitution in Thailand.
Reports have indicated that some families in Thailand sell their underage daughters to brothels. In order to end this vice, families who engage in this practice should be educated on the health consequences and children rights violations brought by the practice. Authorities in Thailand will also be sensitized because they have the legal means of protecting the rights of children in the country.
The general public also needs to know about the negative impacts of child prostitution to enable them to condemn the vice and report incidents of child prostitution to the authorities.
This initiative is mandated by the fact that it is illegal to subject children to prostitution. Children’s rights are universally protected, and protection of children from sexual abuse or exploitation is one of the core values of universal children rights. From a moral perspective, it is wrong for adults to defile children by subjecting them to prostitution.
Adults should protect children and safeguard their rights. It is therefore unethical for adults to violate children’s rights. In addition, the united nation through UNICEF, advocates for universal children rights that protect them from child labor, sexual abuse and other forms of abuse in the society. Therefore, everyone is legally and morally obliged to advocate for the ending of child prostitution in Thailand.
The initiative to sensitize the public and end child prostitution in Thailand will be a nationwide program. This program will target communities and the relevant institutions in Thailand. The program will be rolled out in different communities across Thailand. The institutions that will be targeted in this program will be the police and the ministry of tourism.
Being a nationwide initiative, one of the major limitations to the implementation of this project is finances. Other limitations may be lack of support from the communities in Thailand, and sabotage from parties, which have certain interests, or benefits from child prostitution in the country.
This project will adopt a popular education approach as advocated by Paulo Freire. Popular education according Freire (2002) is a type of education that is aimed at empowering individuals who are politically and socially marginalized by enabling them to embrace ideas that will bring social change.
This type of education is different from formal learning in that everyone involved needs to participate effectively. In popular education there is no demarcation between students and the teacher, instead everybody plays the role of a teacher and student simultaneously.
In popular education, knowledge is generated through group activities. This group activity normally enables individuals to evaluate their life situations together. This will make individuals realize their true position in the word (Freire, 2000, p. 133). According to Freire (2000), no type of education is neutral.
Education has the potential of either making people to accept the status quo, or encourage them to think independently in order to bring the desired change. Popular education is a liberation type of learning in that it has the potential of inculcating independent thinking among people enabling them to challenge the status quo. Use of popular education to sensitize people in Thailand about the negative impacts of child prostitution, will enable them to reject the current status that permit child prostitution.
Popular education also encourages mutual learning and dialogue. Dialogue serves in the process of learning by enabling individuals who are learning to have confidence that they can solve the challenges they face (Freire, 2000, p. 135). In sensitizing the public to end child prostitution in Thailand, constant dialogue will be used to make those who have been affected by children prostitution to realize that they are not alone.
Dialogue will also enable people who have been affected by child prostitution or those who have undergone through this vice to realize that it is not their fault. Popular learning also requires that the facilitator identifies the differences in the group that can generate conflict in the learning process. In dealing with this problem, the facilitator should seek a common ground (Freire, 2000, p. 136).
Basically, popular education aims at empowering individuals who are socially and politically marginalized. Children subjected to prostitution in Thailand are socially and politically marginalized (Freire, 2000, p. 48). The oppressors in this project are the perpetrators of child prostitution, while the oppressed are the victims of this vice. In liberating these children from child prostitution, the program will encourage communities to confront the perpetrators of this vice and stop them from continuing with the trade.
The participants in this project will include families, communities and institutions like ministry of tourism and the police. Families and communities will participate because they are affected by child prostitution, while at the same time they help in the propagation of this vice. Families and communities have sold their own daughters to brothels. Therefore, the popular education and the sensitization process should begin with them because empowering them will be crucial in ending child prostitution.
The ministry of tourism is included as a participant because foreigners who pose as tourists are also involved in child prostitution. These foreigners, who mainly hail from the west, provide the money that is needed to sustain child prostitution in Thailand. If the ministry is sensitized to abolish sex tourism, incidents of child prostitution will drastically reduce, or end due to lack of finances.
The police are included as participants because they safeguard laws, and they have a responsibility in ensuring that the rights of children are not violated. The police are crucial as participants because they have the authority of confronting the perpetrators of child prostitution and bringing them to justice.
The partners in this project will be the government of Thailand, UNICEF and other international NGOs that are interested in ending child prostitution in the country, and south East Asia in general. The government of Thailand will grant the project managers the permission for the implementation of the project. In addition, the government will provide the security that will be needed because the issue addressed by the project is sensitive, and individuals with vested interests may seek to sabotage it.
The government will also provide logistical support. UNICEF and other international NGOs will be approached to partially fund the project. They can also provide the capacity required to implement the project in terms of personnel and teaching resources. Communities in Thailand will also be partners in the project because they are the people who will determine the success or failure of the project.
The project will be evaluated through surveys that will be conducted in different stages to determine whether it is effective. Some of the indicators that will be examined to determine the effectiveness of the project include the attitude of the general public towards child prostitution, number of brothels, which will still be operating after the project, and the number of perpetrators brought to justice during and after the project.
Whether families will stop or continue the practice of selling their own daughters to prostitution, will also be used as a measure of evaluating the project. The success or failure of the project will simply be indicated by a reduction of child prostitution, an end to it, or its persistence.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.