Sometimes I look back at the darkest times in my life and I stand in awe of how those very situations have turned around. In those darkest times I needed Christ to rescue me, to make a way, to advocate on my behalf. I cannot help but envision the huge host of angels that God directs to bring all things together for His good- it overwhelms me! This has been something I have been humbled by not just in my own life, but also in my work with the Hug Project.
There was one event in which a large number of NGO’s and Government officials gathered for a day of community building. During the gathering a phone call was received from the local authorities, there was a sizeable human trafficking case that needed immediate attention. While there still was a majority of the event left, the response from the group was instantaneous and without complaint.
Like a flock the group gathered and was briefed on specifics regarding the case we were about to encounter. As I sat there and watched it unfold I saw the rapid movement, and fight for justice unravel before my eyes. I saw a host of Human Rights activists and Government officials working on behalf of these many helpless, confused, afraid individuals- of all ages.
I have been saddened recently as I have researched, followed the news and talked with colleagues to hear the negative connotation associated with Non Government Organizations and government officials in Thailand, specifically in response to this crisis.
With honesty I can say that corruption does exist in Thailand, as it does in many countries in the world today. However, my most recent time on the field has opened my eyes up to a side of Thailand that I wish I could reveal to the world.
As an observer, and as a member of this team I was amazed day after day to see the sacrifice, humility and true collaboration amongst a number of these organizations and even more government officials than imaginable.
I have recently completed a career changing, eye opening book titled, Ending Slavery: How We Free Todays Slaves By: Kevin Bales (this comes HIGHLY recommended). In this book the author discusses in depth the subject of collaboration amongst communities. Without unity, it is impossible to be successful in the quest to end slavery in any location.
Something that the Hug Project, and many other organizations we partner with, have recognized from the early stages of development, is that this work is futile without Government support- we were thankful to find a team of police who operate with honesty to work alongside!
By agreeing to work together the work becomes less hopeless and more successful. The teams and clientele begin to feel more support. Have you ever heard the term, ‘it takes a village’? I have never agreed more. The circle of professionals that I have had the incredible opportunity to work with have created a village, and what is even more exciting- they have asked Christ to be at the center of it. By doing so they have caught the attention of higher government officials and the surrounding population. They are sparking a conversation. They are promoting change. They are breaking ground.
My point for this article is not to lead you to believe that corruption is non-existent in Thailand, or even that this is an introduction to the perfect model. Rather, I would like you to see from this a glimpse of hope. There is an unbelievable amount of evil in the world and in this work. However, I believe that with all the negative publicity, light deserves more attention. There is an incredible amount of light, justice, and restoration coming through this collaboration. All as a result of leaders who have responded to an injustice, by not settling but rather by challenging the majority.
Be encouraged, be compelled.
One of the first things you can do to respond is to pray! Pray that the in country of Thailand, the body of Christ, can put aside our hurts and differences to work collaboratively to put an end to this injustice. Pray for the leaders, for all of professionals in this field , as always, for safety, direction, strength, courage and daily renewal of the mind!
Also, take the time research what is going on internationally in response to Trafficking, laws, policies and ground breaking initiatives. From there- don’t just keep it to yourself, spark a conversation. Take Action.
Another way that you can respond is to give financially. A way to assure growth, is to make sure that those on the field are properly funded so that amongst many things, funding is not something holding them back!
The Hug Project Team currently has the hopes of hiring professionals from their community to join the team-they need the help of supporters to make this crucial next step possible. If you feel lead to give, and for more information, please contact me at Kayty@hugproject.org.
Kayty Marie is a recent graduate of Messiah College with a Bachelors in Social Work. Throughout her college career she had the opportunity to spend two semesters abroad interning in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has recognized her calling to respond and seek justice in the area of Human Trafficking and Exploitation,specifically in South East Asia. Kayty also is passionate about writing, being outdoors, fitness and cooking. She is looking forward to seeing the doors that God opens in this new season of life.