Poipet Street Kids Project
27% of human trafficking victims are children
Those trapped in the bonds of slavery are crying out to be rescued . .
We can be a part of setting them free.
Our rescue work involves partnerships with government, police, social workers, non-government organizations (NGOs), and rescue organizations. Through relationships, focused outreach, and network relations, we are able to assist in cases of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.
Poipet Street Kids Project
A survey on street kids living in Poipet shocked local social workers who said they didn’t expect to see so many children living in deplorable conditions and so few attending school.
“30% of the children interviewed said they regularly slept on the streets – the most common reasons they gave were fear of returning home, lack of earnings to turn over to their parents, domestic violence, or simply that they preferred to stay on the street with siblings or friends.” The Phnom Penh Post
Many Khmer persons living in poverty move to Poipet hoping to find work in Thailand, where it is estimated that everyday 10,000 persons cross the border for work. Families quickly learn that children can be a source of income, so many send their kids to make money by begging, trafficking, drugs, or sending them to work in Thailand. Numerous parents go to work in Thailand and some never return, leaving their children behind. In their vulnerability, many of these kids end up living on the street or staying with relatives who often also exploit them.
The street kids in Poipet are currently the most at-risk children in the city. Some of these children are currently being trafficked, abused, used in pornographic videos, and forced to beg on the streets. Some are given drugs to which they quickly get addicted and will do anything to maintain their addiction. Our social worker in Poipet connects through regular outreach activities to build relationships with these kids and their families. If there is a case that needs assistance, our team works to get the child placed in safe and restorative care (either kinship care, if available, or in any one of our networking partner organizations).
This project goes hand-in-hand with our Thailand partnerships to help rescue and repatriate Cambodian kids. Our cross-border partnerships serve as a primary liaisons for cases from Thailand, working with local government, police, and NGOs (such as A21) to continue to build a safety network for children at-risk.
This project is instrumental in preventing trafficking and abuse at the border. At the moment, there are no other projects in the city that successfully help street children to provide protection, food, and education for those in need.
GOALS: Assisting street children in areas of need by providing
Monitoring and Protection:
This project is managed by a local social worker, who conducts daily outreaches in the areas where street children are living and working. All children are monitored for abuse, neglect, and risks of trafficking.
In cases of abuse, we work with the local government and NGO homes to place children into safe care. Any child at-risk of trafficking is reported to government organizations that can assist in keeping them safe. The information collected from the children is invaluable for the breakdown of trafficking rings and to protect against further exploitation.
Children’s Ministry / Counseling and Therapy:
Our goal is to provide healing, restoration, and spiritual counseling for children trapped in the vicious cycles of exploitation. We have weekly children’s ministry times where we share the gospel and facilitate activities that better allow us to build relationships (to hear about background or areas of abuse/exploitation) and also to give them tools to build and strengthen them through art or music therapy. We aim to build confidence and encourage children to have hopes and dreams outside of the cycle of poverty.
Education and Training:
One of the main reasons the street children are exploited is because their families are poor and without education. Most families do not see the value in education or in educating their children. If the child is in school, they can’t be on the street working to make money for the family. Our team works with the families of these children to try help them with employment, training, and education needs.
Street children often go all day without a warm meal or even a snack, and as a result, many children suffer from infections and disease caused by the lack of nutrition. Those who are hungry will often beg and sometimes sell themselves just for food. Our program provides a healthy snack once a week and a hot meal once a month. It is our hope to eventually provide daily hot meal and healthy snack provisions.