Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Presented October 12, 2012, at Fourth Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, Lincoln, NE


In this qualitative, ethnographic multi-site case study, I examine two Thai NGO shelter/schools working with human trafficking survivors and at-risk populations of children. The two NGOs have a residential component, meaning that children live at the shelter, and an educational component, meaning that children are taught academic and vocational skills. Education is a key intervention in the mission of both NGOs, and education is treated as a means of human trafficking prevention and a means of protection of human trafficking survivors from returning to exploitative situations. The controversial definition of human trafficking and the continuum of vulnerability between at-risk populations and human trafficking victims are discussed. I explored the issues of statelessness and poverty through interviews with students, teachers and staff at the NGOs. I conducted observations in the NGO settings and in the broader Thai context by using ethnographic field notes. I described changes at the NGOs over time through a detailed account of specific aspects of the NGOs. The study discusses NGO efforts to reduce the vulnerability of children, and the barriers that both children and NGOs face in vulnerability reduction efforts. The findings of the study reflect the compounding effect of many factors that cause vulnerability to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation for children in and around Thailand.