Objectives

* To provide shelter and meet the basic needs of survivors of trafficking (women & children)
* To respond to the psychosocial needs of trafficking survivors
* To provide referral and support with legal services
* To support development and independence through education (formal and non-formal, including vocational training)
* To support empowerment through improved awareness of rights and protective services

Target

* Capacity for 50 women and children at a single time; survivors of trafficking

The Green Hope Center was established by SAW in 2008 to respond specifically to the needs of survivors of trafficking, and women and children in particular. The centre provides shelter, trauma counseling and vocational training for survivors of trafficking, and also helps reunite families, where feasible. The Center also provides sustainable long-term strategies, such as providing vocational skills training to survivors returning to Burma, to minimize the risk of future exploitation and to help victims re-integrate with their families and communities. For those remaining in Thailand, the Center creates a dynamic network of support by connecting women and children to educational, vocational, and health services in the border area.

The Center was opened when SAW noticed a steadily increasing number in trafficked women and children among clients at the various crisis centers SAW was operating at the time. In response, the organization decided that there was a need to create more focused and systematic interventions to address the very particular needs of women and children who had been trafficked. Prior to this, SAW was (and remains) an active member of the Thai government-led Anti-Trafficking Network for the Tak province. Through this network, SAW supports survivors of trafficking with translation and counseling services, as well as taking referrals from this network for sheltering rescued children. Following this experience SAW opened Green Hope, which has helped numerous women and children since its inception. As SAW’s experience in this field has grown, the organization has sought to respond to the changing environment and growing issues. As a result, SAW has also provided shelter and reunification services to men who have experienced trafficking and been rescued. Since 2008, SAW has helped nearly 50 men. These men are sheltered off site in a space specifically designated for men. For those who do not want to be reunified with their families in Burma, SAW offers vocational and skills training.

Since the individual situation of women who come to Green Hope varies greatly, there is no set amount of time that women remain. Some stay for a few days, some a few weeks and others can stay anywhere from a month to 6 months. After 6 months, SAW helps them with job placement or supports them to reunify if they wish.

For children residing in Green Hope, SAW staff are equipped to contact parents (who may be based far away in Burma) through Burmese networks on both sides of the border, and facilitate a process of Family Reunification when it has been determined that it is safe to do so for the child. However, in many cases, children who are survivors of trafficking have nowhere to return to – they have either completely lost contact with their family or their family situation is unsafe. In these cases, the children remain safely at SAW and are linked into SAW’s other programs. They join SAW schools or vocational training programs and work towards their future. Displaced children, especially those traumatized by trafficking, flourish in the safe house environment; being surrounded by peers and staff from their own culture and having similar eating, working, and community patterns to the ones they left behind create a sense of safety and security for the children.

Residents at Green Hope have been referred to SAW through a wide network of partners who support and rescue individuals from trafficking situations around Thailand. Included are local organizations based in southern Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket and other places), Thai provincial government networks, local and international organizations, and community members. However, since the Green Hope Center houses Burmese migrants who have escaped from complex trafficking situations and who have no legal status in Thailand, the center’s location is kept quiet so as not to put the women and children at risk of arrest or deportation (and potentially, re-trafficking) by police or immigration authorities.

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