FFI works to change conditions that allow exploitation to exist. We believe in a holistic approach so that our projects can give women and children the opportunity to be free from oppression before and after it occurs. We do this through prevention, intervention, and restoration programs.
FFI supports the Asia Center Foundation Children’s Safe House, which houses at-risk children who are from difficult or dangerous backgrounds. The house is run by caring Thai parents and provides a safe family environment and emotional support, while still allowing children the opportunity, where viable, to visit their nearby families in a way that is not threatening. There are a myriad of reasons why children are given the opportunity to enroll in the safe house project, such as exposure to alcoholism, physical abuse, unsafe home environment, or the nature of their parents’ occupation. Whatever their reason for coming to the safe house, we’re excited to see the children growing and thriving.
In partnership with Asia Center Foundation, we are currently making plans to build a preschool and primary school for disadvantaged and at-risk children, many of whom do not have legal access to the Thai schooling system because of their Burmese background. We look forward to the school providing care and education so that these children can fulfill their God-given potential. On the same premises, we have plans to build our vocational training center and a community center to reach out to the those living in the area.
Community Development and Education
FFI values community-based approaches to programming that encourages and empowers locals to utilize their God-given strengths and abilities. If a local church or organization is already working in a certain area, we take their lead, learn from their experience, and come alongside them where beneficial. FFI is based out of Phuket specifically because there are no other similar organizations working in South Thailand, so the need is great, but where we can partner with and equip others, especially locals, we will. Because FFI recognizes the importance of developing local capacity, we are excited that one of our partners, YWAM Phang Nga Andaman, is working with Thai schools to offer training focused specifically on helping children understand sexual abuse, an issue not often discussed but one that is prevalent in society. By teaching children how to protect themselves and friends from exploitation, and challenging them to think about how certain decisions can impact their future, we hope to stop the cycle of abuse and prevent these children from ever entering the sex trade.
Many people are still unaware of the realities of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in our world today. FFI seeks to empower this generation with the knowledge needed to end global oppression. We want to provide you with resources to help bring awareness to your friends, family, and network of our need to work together on behalf of the exploited. We offer awareness campaign resources, fundraisers through social media, tools and information, and event hosting ideas to energize your efforts in being a part of what FFI is doing to break the chains of oppression.
Child Advocacy Center
In partnership with the Royal Thai Police, the Thai Internet Crimes Against Children, the FBI, and the U.S. Homeland Security, FFI runs the Child Advocacy Center Phuket, a safe and child-friendly place where young victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation are able to speak to a trained forensic interviewer about the trauma that the child has experienced or witnessed. During the child-friendly interview, investigative law enforcement and social workers supervise from a separate room to build case evidence against the offender(s) that can lead to arrest and prosecution. The children are referred to specialized counsellors and their families are given an advocate to help them through the legal process. When not being used for interview purposes, FFI also runs after school programs at the Center for children in the community.
FFI recognizes the importance of building trust and deepening relationships with the women who work in the red-light district of Phuket, something that in Thai culture usually requires a lot of time. This is especially true with Thai women working in the sex trade, who often have a significant amount of past trauma that makes it difficult for them to trust. For this reason, our outreach team is committed to developing relationships with individual women in order to become trusted people in their lives, which then gives us a platform on which to discuss our vocational training programs and, ultimately, to share the hope we have in Jesus. Some of the ways FFI reaches out to women in the red-light district are:
- Weekly salon outreach, where we offer free hair and nails for women getting ready for work
- Weekly visits to the bars
- ESL classes
Women from African and Eastern European countries who come to Thailand to work are often tricked into a life of sexual exploitation and simply cannot find a way to return to their home countries. With the help of local partners, FFI walks these women through the legal and logistical procedures required in order for them to leave Thailand, and we provide care and emotional support during this process. We also help connect these women with organizations in their home countries that can help them rebuild their lives with dignity and strength.
Our baking training program will help participants learn a new trade with an opportunity to open up their own businesses. The goal of our program is for women leaving exploitation to eventually be able to open their own bakery or be employed in the commercial baking industry. We are committed to walking hand-in-hand with these women and showing them another way of life, another way to earn income, and another way to regard their self-worth. By providing these women with a firm foundation to build on, they can eventually return to their homes and families to make an impact on their own community.
Our salon project is designed to educate and empower those affected by sexual exploitation by providing an education in hair design. Through this vocational training program, we will give participants the chance to grow, thrive, and look ahead to a future filled with hope. We will be providing education, training, and support in the areas of hair cutting, barbering, hair coloring, and hair styling. Providing someone with a skill set and an education is a priceless gift that can be shared with others from similar circumstances.
Life Skills and Discipleship
For our Baking and Salon Projects, our students will be brought together daily to be discipled through God’s Word. They will also learn personal and professional budgeting and finance, personal and cosmetic health and hygiene, ESL, and basic life skills. Furthermore, we recognize that the women in our programs have experienced a lot in their lives, and so we place a high value on restorative trauma-centered counselling for all of our participants.