An organization against child sexual exploitation pairs with a group that rescues abused elephants. Awesomeness ensues.
CHIANG RAI, Thailand.
Bangkok is known as the “City of Angels” and Thailand as “The Land of Smiles.” But woven into the fabric of a country proud of never being colonized, a country with some of the greenest mountains, greatest fruit, bluest oceans and gentlest people is a layer of scum too often invisible: human trafficking. As an American who has now lived here for over two years, I continue to be stunned by how few Thai people know about the human trafficking that takes place all throughout their country. For many back in the States, sex trafficking is synonymous with Thailand. Many American people, upon my mentioning where I live, immediately ask about the trafficking problem. It’s an odd situation – the Thai people are not saturated enough with stories about the problem whereas when Thailand is mentioned on major news outlets in the States it’s often about trafficking. Both are unfortunate extremes.
And so stories like this make a warmth come over me that has nothing to do with the humidity here. In northern Thailand, The Sold Project has recently collaborated with The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) to create something far greater than either organization could achieve alone. One aspect of The Sold Project I respect tremendously is how they work to combat human trafficking through culturally relevant programs. Many good-intentioned people come here to Thailand and though their help matters they end up forcing Christianity on Buddhist people or otherwise not taking into account Thai culture. The GTAEF is a group whose mission is terribly important. Every year, countless elephants here are essentially tortured into performing tricks for tourists. Some are mutilated and purposefully kept sick so they can be photographed and placed on television shows and websites that plead for foreigners to send money. Many other elephants are killed solely so their tusks can be taken and sold for big money in China where the people have magical beliefs about their medicinal powers. So enough of all that. Check out the video and smile. Share it. Then follow The Sold Project here on Facebook and @TheSoldProject on Twitter, and support the GTAEF here on Facebook.