By Pratch Rujivanarom
Weerawan, who won this year’s TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award, was speaking at a press conference at American Hub, Bangkok.
She said she had noticed a greater incidence of human trafficking and sexual crimes against children in recent years, and encouraged proper awareness-raising among children to protect themselves from traffickers.
“We have come across more and more worrying cases of human trafficking in children to the sex industry and cases of paedophilia,” Weerawan said.
“In the end, when facing these evil practices, we are all confronted with a choice: do nothing, or do something.”
As the founder and director of children’s rights protection group HUG Project, based in Chiang Mai, she said that her work was not only limited to the North. Her team has been working to help the victims of human trafficking in children nationwide.
“Up until now, there have been more than 100 cases of human trafficking in children that our organisation has worked on, and there are around 30 cases that have already been in court,” she said.
She said that the mission to assist the victims of human trafficking was not enough to end the practice. Therefore, she stressed the defensive approach of raising awareness and equipping children with the knowledge of how to protect themselves.
Weerawan said her group was trying to have lessons on how to prevent yourself from being a victim of human trafficking and sexual harassment included in the school curriculum.
“We encourage schools to set up monitoring systems to find students who are in trouble and help them,” she said.