Prevention of Trafficking in Women and Children, Savannakhet province, Lao PDR, August 2005

Published: 2005 by Norwegian Church Aid
Commissioned by:Norwegian Church Aid
Carried out by:Mr. Sompop Jantaraka and Ms. Pornthip Ratanakeree
Tags:Laos, Asia and Oceania

Summary

Background

In 2002, Savannakhet Provincial Youth Union and Norwegian Church Aid started a pilot project to initiate prevention of illegal labor migration from Xayphouthong district to Thailand. The initial purpose of the project was to give awareness on the risk of illegal migration to youth, to generate local income, network with other agencies addressing prevention of migration and capacity building on prevention of
illegal migration and human trafficking for province and district coordinators. After a review in 2003 both parties agreed to continue the programme activities by establishing of a 3-year plan (2003-2005) to combat trafficking through prevention of migration. In 2004 the project expanded to another district, Atsaphoutong, which is located further away from the Mekong river and the Thai border.

Purpose/objective

• To assess achievement, appropriateness of the project's approaches, strategies and the impact of the project on difference levels in relation to the stated objectives of the project, taking an organizational setting, capacity building, sustainability and management perspectives into consideration
• Formulation of recommendations for the future direction for NCA program in prevention of human trafficking in Savannakhet as well as in Lao PDR

Methodology

- Review of reports and papers prepared by the project : project proposal, MOU 2003-2005, Survey on Labor migration in Xaiphouthong and Atsaputong , Project
agreement 2005, Annual report 2002, 2003, 2004
- Meet and discuss with NCA staff (Lao Country representative, country coordinator and project coordinator)
- Meet and interview with Lao Youth Union Savannakhet, steering committee both
province and district
- Visit to 6 target villages in Xaiphouthong and Atsaputong
- Sharing discussion meeting with the project committees, target groups and
representatives from communities; monks, elderly persons
- Interview non-target group of the project's activities in the communities
- Observations

Key findings

Findings and recommendations

1.) Human trafficking is a policy issues in Laos and the NCA project feeds into a government priority to combat illegal migration and human trafficking. Although the government's resources are limited, the outcome of the project is positive. The Government side assumes its responsibilities. Nevertheless, prevention of human trafficking is still in its infancy and approaches needs to be forked out for the Lao context. NCA should continue to support the project.

2.) NCA should continue to work with Lao Youth Union (LYU) it has an appropriate structure to reach young people at all levels (main target group of the project). These areas must be considered;
a) Assist LYU to thoroughly understand the Human Trafficking problems which Lao
youth are facing. The project should also establish direct links with the Ministry of
Social Welfare and Labor. Networking with other national, international organizations mandated to deal with trafficking problems must be given attention.
b) Assist LYU to set up an appropriate data system of young people in all aspects. The data should include both quantitative and qualitative information. Particular emphasis should be on problems they are facing now in connection to migration for work.

3.) Strategies used in the project which were found to be effective should be continued;
a) Awareness raising campaigns were successful, and should be continued. Materials produced through these campaigns should be systematically compiled and used in the next project phase.
b) Mobilization of local resources (natural, human) should become an integral part of all income generating activities. The efforts which had been done to improve the abilities of local human resources as well as building up more during the project activities are commendable. Therefore, they should be continued. Further assisting them to link between groups in order to gradually set up a systematic resource based.
c) Inter-disciplinary team approach received good response from all concerns and they have performed well. Program to further improve their knowledge and skills will help strengthen their capabilities. The area of improvement should includes:
- knowledge on trafficking issues
- facts and information directly concern the target population
- skills of working processes, e.g. Group formation and group processes,
leadership development, team building, etc.

4.) The project has not been able to reach the targeted population (high risk youth). Therefore, there is an immediate need to do so. An in depth survey to really get the clear view of the situation, is recommended. The project can choose one village as a case to better elaborate the plan and design its working approach.

5.) Reconsideration of operational plan must be done to enable the above point ;
a) In after class activities make special effort to find appropriate activities and reach out to secondary school students who will soon drop out of school and look for job.
b) In income generating activities, involving young people in the adult groups may not be of interest to them. Therefore, forming groups for young people themselves to conduct the activities they choose can be more appropriate / effective.
This means that the officials (LYU and NCA) need to have knowledge and skill in working with youth. Research, survey and/ or study trips where they have successful youth program are recommended.

6.) NCA needs to be better equipped to perform this highly demanding job. The number and capacity of the one exiting personnel is quite inadequate to cope with this complicate problems. Therefore NCA must consider increasing a number of staff as needed and improve their abilities.

Comments from the organisation

We are now in the process of discussing the findings and recommendations internally and with LYU.

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