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Feature: VGCD, Working with Street Children and Sex Workers of Chiang Mai, Thailand

March 1st, 2007

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The Volunteer for Children’s Development Foundation (VGCD)works with street youth of Chiang Mai, Thailand, to help keep youth from being sexually exploited or indoctrinated into the sex industry. (at left, a volunteer who once lived on the streets)

Many of the volunteers are past or current sex workers; several young men who hang out at the Chiang Mai gay bars catering to foreign clients looking for ‘dates’ also keep an eye out for children who are selling their bodies to get by. These volunteers often were once child prostitutes themselves. (at right: a young girl begs late at night; her mother and infant sibling are also begging across the street)

In Chiang Mai it is not uncommon to see seven year-old children selling flowers or begging into the wee hours of the morning. Often they are put to the task by their parents but they may also be worked by another adult. According to VGCD, for these children who spend so many late hours around the sex bars and foreign tourists, it is not much or a leap for the children to move from flower sales to sexual favors, especially when they learn how lucrative it can be. (at left: Oahn, a street child who volunteers believe is autistic, exhibits his hyper-sexualized behavior)

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2 Responses to “Feature: VGCD, Working with Street Children and Sex Workers of Chiang Mai, Thailand”

  1. Christa says:

    Thank you so much for this exhibit bringing awareness to the plight of street children in Chiang Mai. I wanted to draw your attention to something I am sure you do not know. In one of the photos, you identify the child by name and say that he is sexualized and autistic. This is exactly the kind of information that predators could use to track down this boy since he is “experienced” and his autism makes him vulnerable. As such a pedophile could use your awareness piece as information for approaching this particular child. Obviously this is not your intention. The UN and other orgs working with sexually exploited children encourage the use of pseudonyms, blurring of faces, not including identifying details and/or other steps to protect children from pedophiles, as well as to protect them from stigma. Thanks for letting me share my two cents. Great work!

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