One of the biggest challenges faced by trafficking survivors is finding appropriate and safe work. Many survivors of trafficking are unskilled, limiting the kinds of jobs they can access, which are mostly very low-paid. The lack of skills and absence of income also increases their vulnerability to trafficking and work place abuse. Having little other choice, many feel that they have no choice but to put up with challenging, and sometimes dangerous, conditions. SAW runs vocational training programs for Green Hope shelter residents with the aim of imparting marketable skills to residents. The goal of this intervention is that women learn a trade, are able to set up a business, earn a steady income and in this way gain independence and security for themselves and their families. This is one method that SAW utilizes to reduce vulnerability to future trafficking.
While the women reside in Green Hope, they are offered vocational trainings skills including sewing, weaving, knitting, handicraft production (bags, jewelry, purses) and the production of cleaning materials such as soap and shampoo. SAW also refers shelter residents to other organizations that offer trainings in other skills. Male survivors of trafficking are also offered vocational skills building and given support to find employment in Thailand, if they chose to remain here.
The vocational training at Green Hope is a part of SAW’s wider Income Generation Program. Beyond providing essential skills training and facilitating a creative outlet for the women, items made through the vocational training workshops are sold to the public. These funds are used to buy materials and engage staff for further skills trainings, and to a smaller degree are fed back into other SAW services. The trained women take great pride in this and are able to see the financial value of the skills they are learning.
Skills training is coupled with marketplace literacy educational seminars that help the women understand how to establish and run their own business. For those not interested in working alone, these new skills make them more valuable employees and give them access to higher-paid jobs. Through this intervention, SAW is able to empower once disadvantaged women with valuable expertise, and ultimately contribute to their future financial stability.