23 November 2011

From Small Beginnings

Richard Branson said that it is amazing how long it takes to become an overnight success..

I was stood in the Chab Dai member meeting two weeks ago, looking out at more than 160 participants from more than 50 member organizations, remembering our small beginnings.

I am always inspired and encouraged by our member meetings but at this one, our fourteenth, I found myself reflecting on the past and how we got here.

The very first 'official' Chab Dai member meeting was held less than a week after we began in June 2005.

In many ways that was the most daunting meeting of all.. Not only was I organizing everything from logistics to food, chairing and note taking but this was the real test to see how much commitment and support there would be from these first twelve member organizations to the vision and goal of working together to end sexual abuse and trafficking.

We have experienced many successes and failures in the time between that first meeting and this month's fourteenth meeting. We have embarked on many ambitious projects - the most recent one being the Chab Dai Charter which in many ways epitomizes everything we have been working towards during these years - committing ourselves to excellence in all we do.

I am not only encouraged by the increase in participant and member numbers but more in hearing them share their commitment to excellence within their projects and organizations makes the vision more of a reality to those who we are committed to.. The care and long term healing for survivors and beyond that to inspiring new advocates among these survivors and their communities.

..the path to success is often marked by many failures and numerous lessons learned but as long as we keep the goal in sight, and are able to see how far we have come, it helps us keep going on this journey.

Still working - still hopeful


Follow Helen on Twitter @helen_chabdai

21 November 2011

My Morning Read: 'They Deceived Us at Every Step' by Human Rights Watch (2011)

Good Morning Fellow End-Trafficking Advocates!
Well, I don’t know if I could classify the totality of today's morning as 'good', perhaps 'solemn' or 'overwhelmed' would be more appropriate terms to use. I spent the last hour flicking through the new report by Human Rights Watch (October 2011): 'The Deceived Us at Every Step: Abuse of Cambodian Domestic Workers Migrating to Malaysia' Inside the report it documents interviews with domestic workers, government officials, non-government agencies about the abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of Cambodian women & girls who work abroad in Malaysia.
The report confirms, with lots of well-researched documentation, the stories and rumors that have been floating through my ears over the last year plus. What I loved most about reading the report today was how beautifully it highlights the voices of 28 female domestic workers. While tediously reading (okay, skimming) through the facts, recommendations, and definitions of trafficking, debt bondage, and forces labour, it was their voices that caught my attention. I wanted to hear how they felt, what they needed, and where I could fit into their stories. Each word they said spoke more passion & frustration & angst into my body.
This report is not the beginning of this issue, nor is it a report of how the issue has been successfully-forever-resolved (oh how I wish!). It falls somewhere gracefully in the middle -between the general Cambodian public becoming aware of the issue, the government stating a ban on domestic workers to Malaysia, as well as a larger call to action for the wider globe to join in this awareness & advocacy.
I strongly urge each person reading our blog to 1) download the report (here, in English & Khmer) and 2) pray about how you can add your voice to the increasing volume of collective voices shouting for PROTECTION, for DIGNITY, and for HOPE!
Interested to read more?
Follow #Camlabor on Twitter

28 October 2011

What the Chab Dai Member Meeting means to me

I have been working for Chab Dai for almost a year. Along my journey of working here, I found the most exciting event of my working life to be our bi-annual Member Meeting, which we host in May and November of every year.

So far I have attended this event two times. My first time was in Nov 2010. It was really a surprise for me to see so many Christian Cambodians and foreigners come together to share and learn from each other as a coalition. It was huge to me! There were nearly 200 participants who came from various NGOs, some were local and some were international. At that time, I was not very involved in the meeting preparation. I wondered how we were able to do it, how we could prepare it and also why we did it? I was really impressed about how members were networking with each other. It was a great time to see everyone talk and laugh together.

In May 2011, I attended a member meeting for the second time. It was a great event, especially as a facilitator of the paperless training. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this. This time, I realised that it is not easy to make this event happen, we put a lot of energy into preparing and organizing it.

What do we do at the member meetings? All of our members have the same purpose and vision to end sexual abuse and human trafficking in Cambodia and around the globe. At the meeting members strengthen and build up each other through collaborative training, forums, meetings and sharing standards of practices.

The next Member Meeting is coming soon (next week)! As I write this, our team is putting their hearts and energies to make the meeting successful!

18 October 2011

It's not up to me... Someone else will do it

Have you ever been watching an ad by a charity on TV that asks you to donate money to starving people in Africa and thought to yourself, that is truly terrible situation they are in, but I am too busy to give money and in any case someone else will give money.

I know it sounds horrible and I’m not saying that we all assume this, however most people do. The term for this social part of human behaviour is commonly called the Bystander Effect. This theory is the phenomenon in which a large group of people are less likely to help a person in need than an individual. In my opinion this is people that are afraid to stand out fromthe everyday crowd to help someone or to aid many people. There are two major factors that come into play with the occurrence of the bystander effect: the lack of responsibility, and the need to behave in a socially correct way.

The first factor has to do with being taking responsibility as an onlooker of the situation, usually in a group. When an accident happens a lot of people usually gather round and just look at it. Instead of helping, the observer just watches and talks about what has just happened with people among the group, not feeling any sense of responsibility towards the emergency. Another factor that comes into play is that you socially behave in a correct and acceptable ways. Most people frown upon a person doing something different that does not fit in everyday society. So when people fail to attend and help the situation it influences the whole group... so in theory none of them will help. Humans are naturally like that. We are worried that if we do something different we are going to be judged -even if it’s an act of kindness.

This is where charities come in, and the people who work for them. They are not afraid to stand out and give a helping hand to those who need helping. Most people are scared of getting judged and doing something different. It just takes one person to make an improvement in this world. We cannot sit around doing nothing to help and assume that people are going to help those in poverty, sickness, and hunger. No matter how many charities there are, they cannot help everyone. We can help people have the benefits and necessities that we have in developed countries. So next time you see a person in need, don’t be afraid to reach out and give them a helping hand. You will feel fantastic.

Guest Blogger: Dan Ashworth
Guest Blogger: My name is Dan Ashworth and I have a physical challenge called Cerebral Palsy. This does not stop me from doing anything! I am from the U.K., however, I moved to Australia, then the U.S., and I'm currently living in Canada. At the age of seventeen I'm interested in subjects such as economics, business, philosophy, writing, and psychology. I find that all of these topics help me understand humans all together and how our native instincts come into play in everyday life. I feel like we are so caught up in the wave of life we forget who we are, and lose the questioning of our actions and thoughts. That's why I'm writing blogs to properly research our psyche, what we are thinking about, and the hidden secrets of our weird and wonderful minds.

15 October 2011

Reflections From My Flight {Malaysia to Cambodia}

Most of you have probably been on a plane sometime in your life, be it across an ocean or only a quick hop closer to home. Likely your plane adventures at one time also included turbulence or your were forced to taxi for longer than desired. And maybe a few of you have even been on such a long flight that when the wheels hit the ground there was some mild cheering or clapping?

Last week my flight from Malaysia back to Cambodia was such a flight. Only this time the cheering & clapping wasn't because we survived the turbulence. It was the genuine excitement of 40+ women arriving back in their country after working two long years in a factory or as a domestic worker.

I can honestly say it was one of the best flights I have ever been on, and it was definitely not the service or in-flight meals which made it so great. So why then? Because I could actually feel the excitement, the joy, and the relief of workers who at some point had risked everything to earn money for their families. They missed their parents, their kids, they missed Khmer food, and also speaking Khmer. As the plane's wheels hit the runway, squeals, cheers, smiles, and excited clapping broke out spontaneously throughout the plane.

I too joined in with their clapping and cheering. For me, though, it wasn't about missing the country or food, per say (although I do love both), it was the JOY of seeing women & men returning home safely. 'They survived!' I thought to myself.

Survived what?
The stories my coworkers & I heard from women & girls during last week's visit in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the reports & research shared between partnering organizations over the last two years, have made me believe it's hard to survive. Beyond the problems of recruitment, debt bondage, and slave-like conditions migrant workers face in Cambodia, bound for Malaysia there is another set of problems awaiting them there. All power is completely in the hands of the company, and more specifically the employer himself. He or she dictates the working hours, holds the worker's passport, controls telephone privledges, locks the doors, pays the salary, and also renews the worker's work permit.

But what about her, the domestic worker? The one who like every other person in the world- holds basic human rights, including dignity, freedom, and access to food, water, and decent living? Nope, sorry, the system isn't worker-center. She is trained to listen & obey the employer, and try her best to please them at whatever the cost.

Example: I saw this list posted throughout the training center of one Cambodian recruitment company:
  • I must be a good maid.
  • I must work hard.
  • I must not be lazy.
  • I must make my employers happy.
  • I must follow instructions my employer gives.
  • I must finish my contract for two years.
  • I must help my family earn money.

For me this simple list of 'rules' says a lot about the heart of this 'recruitment-work-system':
  1. Clearly workers are NOT educated about their rights. Instead taught everyday for three months that anything the employer says they must do; therefore 'making the employer happy' is supposed to be more important than the workers' own well-being;
  2. And it's manipulating to have 'I must help my family earn money' on the list. It adds to the already-felt pressure in Cambodian society for older daughters to provide for the welfare of the whole family. Whispering this subtly in her ear every day, may also add a level of shame that later prevents her from asserting her own rights and reporting harsh conditions or physical/ sexual abuse.

My HOPE is for more women to return safely home to Cambodia with the salaries they were promised and no scars. And for women to be educated about their right to hold their own passport while working, their right to a day off of work, and their right to access social services if needed. If you agree please join me with cheers and clapping!


Want to know more about the recruitment process in Cambodia or the harsh conditions in Malaysia? Read an in-depth interview between Equitas and myself in June 2011 on their blog. Or do a Google search for even more recent news & updates.

On Twitter? Follow me (@aimee_chabdai) and use #Camlabor to spread awareness news & stories about this form of trafficking.

Planning on migrating? Do you know someone who is? Please migrate safely, here are some tips:
  • Copy your passport or write down your passport number and give it to your family.
  • Read your contract before signing, and ask to keep a copy.
  • Memorize Tenaganita's hotline number in Malaysia in case you need help: 012 335 0512
  • Ask lots of question! Know the name and phone number of the recruiter, and the company you are working with.

11 October 2011

The Paradox of the Leadership Lens

Chab Dai Cambodia Leadership Team
(Left to Right: Dara, Muylen, Sithy, Helen, Yeng)
One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to lead the amazing team and work of Chab Dai.

It has been a source of some of my life's greatest highs and most extreme lows, it has inspired me with the many amazing people I have come to know and admire, and broken my heart by showing me the impact of those who perpetrate horrendous crimes against the vulnerable.

I have to admit that reflection has never been one of my strengths - it is something that, for me, requires discipline and space; neither of which i have a lot of! My leadership preference has always been in the vision, future possibilities and strategies of the organisation, but I have had to learn how to balance the extremes of many other aspects within the leadership experience.

I remember when I first entered a leadership role and was told that 'it is lonely at the top'. At the time it seemed strange when I was surrounded by so many people for much of the time. However, I soon realised that it was apparent that decision-making and holding ultimate responsibility for the organisation can in fact be - well - lonely.

Another interesting extreme is the tension and partnership of being focused on the strategy and vision of the organisation and at the same time, keeping myself informed of its activities, challenges and successes, the new ideas being discussed, and how the team are doing.

Perhaps some of the greatest extremes exist in my mind - the need to look at a situation or issue through three mindsets simultaneously. The first is looking and assessing the facts of the present situation. The second, to reflect on past experiences to see if there are any lessons I have learned to apply to the present situation, and finally to look at the implications and inspirations from the present, on the future.

I see leadership as a journey rather than as a destination which means I still have a lot to learn even after many miles of travelling!

A fellow traveller,


03 October 2011

How long will we "let boys be boys"?

At the beginning of September, I attended the Human Development and Capabilities Association conference in The Hague, The Netherlands. Martha Nussbaum, one of the founding presidents of the association and one of the foremost philosophers on the capability approach, gave an engaging and thought-provoking keynote address on “Women and the Internet: Objectification and Human Capabilities.”
Much of the harassment and objectification occuring online is by men and boys. Nussbaum argues that the anonymity of posting degrading comments, pictures, and defaming stories of women is a way for many men to turn the fantasy of violence against women into reality because they are not just observing it but actually inflicting it. Boys and men who feel shame and out of control turn that shame outward because they do not learn a language to name their emotions and fears. It is easy to dismiss the aggression against women on the Internet as pathological, or call the perpetrators of such aggression "nuts;" but in reality, it is a reflection of a cultural phenomenon of violence against women.

We often talk about redefining feminity; taking control of our own sex and gender and not letting men define us as women. What I really appreciated about Nussbaum's discourse is that, if we are ever to achieve gender harmony, and really end the violence and exploitation of women, we need to redefine masculinity. Although it is difficult - some would say near impossible - for parents to counteract the pervasive culture of male aggression, it is time to take an intentional stand against the laissez-faire attitude of "boys will be boys." Nussbaum suggests, as a starting point, that we change the connotation of "strength" (a trait often associated with men); instead of equating strength with dominance, we need to teach our sons that strength is, in fact, respect and compassion.

As a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, mentor, or friend, how can we change our expectations of and attitudes toward the boys around us, so they grow up to show this new strength? I invite you to reflect on this and contribute to the conversation!

My husband Charlie and me in
The Hague for the HDCA Conf

27 September 2011

Raising Awareness: Who is your target audience?

On September 18th Chab Dai USA sponsored its 3rd annual Sacramento March Against Slavery.  Before the march I took a few minutes to reflect as I stood in the middle of the Cesar Chavez Park where the event was taking place.   It felt good to see it come together.  The event staff, who had already worked tirelessly to organize the event, were still running around.   The co-sponsors and booth supporters were busy greeting one another while showcasing their organizations with pride.  The band was playing, raffle tickets were being sold and despite the heat people were preparing to march.

That's what today was about.   It was about coming together for a common cause;  supporting and encouraging local anti-human trafficking organizations;  and it was about raising awareness.   The only part of today's purpose yet to be determined was the raising awareness piece and I wondered how that might play out today.  It seemed obvious but by the end of the day, I wasn't so sure.

As I helped to clean up after the event,  I could see from a short distance a group of our youngest volunteers, ranging in ages from 10 - 17.  They had worked hard all day yet there they were still proudly wearing their event t-shirts and still tucked under their arms were the signs they carried in the march.    I could tell they were having a serious conversation and as I stepped a little closer I realized it was more than just superficial.  They were, in their youthful way, debriefing today's event.   They were rereading their signs and talking about the pictures they had seen at some of the booths.  One of them mentioned how 'cool' it was to see local organizations helping victims by selling their handmade items and wondered what she might do to help some of those victims.   The last thing I heard was a young girl saying: "I'm never going to let that happen to me or to anyone I know."

I had clearly underestimated the impact that painting signs, selling raffle tickets, serving water and simply being present at the march would have on these young, and in some cases vulnerable, kids.  How limiting of me to assume that our target audience were simply today's spectators -- those passing by as we marched around the Cesar Chavez Park and State Capitol!

At the end of the day and as I drove away I was comforted to know that today's march had brought about an awareness in these young kids -- an awareness I hoped would never be forgotten.   Likewise,  I prayed that as they returned to their families and friends they might be burdened with a desire to join hands in actively fighting human trafficking and modern day slavery.

09 September 2011

Chab Dai Khmer Website

Since i and my team have developed a Chab Dai Khmer website, we have learned a lots about human trafficking and deeply understanding about Chab Dai projects, what they are doing. It is developed base on Chab Dai english website but adding some new categories, example forum where we can share knowledge and resources that relate to human trafficking.

I hope this website will help Cambodian people who works in various organizations
enable to talk and share more about human trafficking and to strengthen our collaboration.

Four of us are really excited to see our work is going to be done. We have spent a lots of times collecting all information and resources to translate, code and design. Beside of school work, We strongly hope our output will become a tool to bring Cambodia hopes and restorations that caused by sexual abuse and human trafficking through our website.

We will launch it at the end of this moth!
Sam Ol

Partnerships – really, what are they?

I love my drive into work - even in the chaos of Phnom Penh traffic, it gives me time to think about my day, what is possible, what didn't work, why I think what I think and numerous other random thoughts that pass through my mind!


My latest discovery in the car is my voice memo app on my iPhone. I know that many people have been using this app for years but I am a little behind technology in general. The great thing about this app is that I can now record these random thoughts rather than risk injury to my fellow road companions!

This week my thoughts, among other things, have been around 'What is Partnership?'

This phrase has become a part of the politically correct terminology we are expected to use in our work, church and communities. My worry is that it has become so normal in our vocabulary that we may have missed the point of it entirely or not even considered it's challenges and possibilities.

The US State Department, Trafficking in Persons office have even added the word to the existing 3 P's of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution - so we now officially have 4 P's to include Partnership. I guess my worry is that we often drift into partnerships knowing that this is how we should work rather than being deliberate and strategic and asking 'why'.

We all have our own frameworks for the word - for some it provokes a nice, warm feeling of how great it is to work in partnership - for some there is tension in how to balance this with the natural competitiveness among organisations and individuals?

If we become more deliberate and 'purpose driven' (to coin the phrase from Rick Warren's bestseller) in partnerships, looking at how we can, dare I say it, 'measure' them, are we degrading the relational essence of partnership and collaboration. Does this make them less desirable if we are focusing on outputs and not just our input?

Chab Dai is an organisation whose very soul and ethos is about collaboration and partnership. We are not immune to these issues and need to challenge ourselves at every level of our partnerships..

I guess for me, as I wrestle with this, it comes down to a basic question that I need to continually consider - What is the most effective way to develop deliberate partnerships to end global trafficking and abuse - and how do I measure them?

I think I need a few more car journeys for this one..
A fellow pilgrim,

02 September 2011

The Bill Hillar Debacle: Who's to Blame?

If you don't know who Bill Hillar is, or you haven't heard the latest news on how he frauded law enforcement, military personnel and the anti-trafficking movement into thinking he had significant special-ops military experience "rescuing" victims of sex trafficking around the world, read here.

Hillar not only lied about his military past, but plagiarized news coverage and stories from the media, even claiming that the film Taken was based on his own life. He provided training for law enforcement, military personnel, and even counseled trafficking survivors. All based on a lie.

How could he do this? How did he do this? While there is no doubt that Hillar himself is the first person to blame, we should also consider some other factors.

There's no doubt - the international anti-trafficking movement is growing very quickly. While it is a positive thing that international media have picked up on spreading the news that "slavery still exists" in our own backyards, this type of mass media explosion also comes with negative consequences. Mass media avenues sensationalize their stories. Journalists want to lure people in, capture their audience's attention, excite the masses, appeal to the emotions, etc - even to the extent that the facts are compromised.

So yes, people are learning that human trafficking is out there, but they are also picking up on information that omits the facts, distorts the truth, and focuses on a purely emotional response.

Yes, human trafficking is a terrible tragedy, and we should be upset about it. But human trafficking is also incredibly complex, with numerous push/pull factors, and evidence-based research tell us there are appropriate (and inappropriate) responses. Human trafficking is not just about sex, it is not just about children, and it is not about vigilante rescue. Unfortunately, many people are unknowingly drawn into the spectacle of mass media, and unfortunately many of these people then turn around and spread information the same way.

So what does this have to do with Bill Hillar? We need to ask ourselves why Hillar did this in the first place. Hillar says people "assumed" he was in the military due to his passionate teaching. He never denied people's assumptions, and then he eventually "adopted" them. While this kind of behavior is certainly unacceptable, we have to honestly consider whether what Hillar was telling people was what they wanted to hear. Hillar was able to manipulate people because he had the kind of information everyone was looking for - heart-wrenching, dramatic, emotional stories of rescue. His sensationalized stories were what was compelling about him; it's why people wanted to hear him speak, and it's why he was so successful at manipulation.

Unfortunately, people aren't always interested in hearing the facts. Facts do not make human trafficking less true or less horrifying (human trafficking is terrifying), but facts are also not as racy, not as emotional; and let's face it - Hollywood movies, TV thrillers and undercover cop shows, etc. have made us all a bit obsessed with sensationalized reality. The issues and organizations that often get the most attention are those that choose to go this route - unfortunately, "racy" doesn't always mean quality work, nor does it mean quality information.

Hillar's story only started to unravel when a former Green Beret began to question the sensationalism and facts of Hillar's stories.

We must learn a valuable lesson here. We must think about the information we receive and evaluate whether it lines up with the facts. We must move away from the sensationalized, purely emotional response to human trafficking, and move into a strategic plan. True abolitionists are knowledgeable about the facts, not only the stories. Frankly, it took far too long for Hillar's lies to be recognized and dragged into the limelight.

Add'l news coverage:
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
Associated Press

08 August 2011

Church Group Raises Money to End Trafficking

A church group in Northern California organized a yard sale this month to raise money for Chab Dai projects. The group networked to collect clothes, purses, luggage, and books for the cause. Dave & Loni Ghiorso hosted the sale in their front yard two weekends in a row, and set out information about Chab Dai to tell customers that all sales would be donated to ending human trafficking & abuse. The group raised a total of $250!

Advocates like the Ghiorso's church group are valuable to our vision of ending trafficking in Cambodia. 100% of their donation was given to our newest project {Community Hero Project}. The project is supporting & equipping 25 local community leaders {we call them Heroes!} to educate fellow villagers & students about human trafficking & child protection. To help these Heroes transport the training resources easily on motorcycles in villages, their donation will buy large vinyl bags with the words "Community Hero" printed on the side.

This fall two members of the group, both accounting & business gurus, will be donating their time in Cambodia. They plan to train staff & project managers of grassroots organizations working to end trafficking {members of Chab Dai} about budgeting & leadership skills. We look forward to learning from them!

Hey Advocates! Do you want to learn more about how to fundraise for Chab Dai's projects in Cambodia, USA, or Canada &/or to volunteer your time {long-distance opportunities also available}. Email us today for more information: cambodia@chabdai.org OR usa@chabdai.org

21 July 2011

Cambodia Project Highlights :: Download our *NEW* 2010-11 Annual Report

Want to see what Chab Dai has been doing in Cambodia this past year? Curious about our projects' impact to effectvely end humqn trafficking & abuse? Read all this & more -including photos & an inspiring Story of Hope- download the report here.

12 July 2011

11th Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

The 11th Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report is the US Government's assessment of the impact of foreign governments' response to human trafficking in their nations, was recently issued mid-June 2011. This year’s report highlights 184 nations, and for the first time this year also includes an assessment of anti-human trafficking efforts in the US.

This year the report also called for more interagency cooperation between governments, academia, business, NGOs, and others, and added a fourth “P” – “Partnership” – to the longstanding “3P” paradigm. The “3P” paradigm – Prevention, Prosecution, & Protection – stands as a fundamental framework used by governments to combat human trafficking.

The US TIP office uses a tiered approach to do their assessment each year. The report assigns countries one of four grades: “Tier 1” for fully meeting basic standards, “Tier 2” for governments making some efforts, ”Tier 2 Watch List” for those slipping, and “Tier 3” for negligible efforts.

The TIP Report, of course, has both its allies & critics. The statistics quoted, we know, can always be disputed, and even the nature of releasing the report annually results in limited time for accurate information gathering each year, in each nation. The information reported is also dependent and subjective to the relationships the US government has in each nation- via US Embassy Consulates, NGOs, or other informants. Governments of countries on the lower tiers criticise the US rankings and often those countries ranked on the higher tiers are received with skepticism. There are political, cultural and economic differences of opinion and like every report, this one also has its limitations and biases.
However, regardless of where each of our preference lies, the TIP Report has been an important tool that allows both NGOs and governments to report on the current challenges and achievements within their countries. It also results in collaborative advocacy points, based on the recommendations that the TIP Report produces.

It is encouraging to see in this year's report a more-balanced response to the issue of human trafficking, including both trafficking for labour and for sexual exploitation; as well as to see a greater acknowledgement of the trafficking of men and boys, and the specialized interventions needed.
Read about the "Topics of Interest" in this year's report here.

Together we need to engage all levels of society to respond broadly to the challenges of demand, to work with governments to implement established human trafficking laws, to empower communities to prevent & protect those who are vulnerable, to educate & work with businesses to be ethical in their practice, as well as in providing stable employment to those in need. And importantly, we must continue to listen and learn lessons from one another, knowing that not one of us has all the answers.

Finally, the most important factor to remember in this fight is that although the report focuses on each nation's responsibility for their own country, we will only see an end to human trafficking if we work together, beyond the boundaries of our own countries & politics, to collaborate with a joint response to this complex issue.

Read the full report on the U.S. Department of State's website: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/
Learn more about Chab Dai's model of collaborating to see an end to human trafficking, by visiting our website: www.chabdai.org

08 July 2011

Chab Dai T-Shirt

Chab Dai has just printed over 400 T-shirts highlighting our values of raising the standard of care and collaborating to end sexual abuse & trafficking.

We designed three types of shirts in red & white. On the front of each is our logo which symbolizes 'joining hands', and on the back are our Core Values written in Khmer. Down the side of the shirt is either 'Advocate' or 'Staff' or 'Member'.

During the Road Trip last week, we gave two shirts with 'Member' written on the side to each of our members across Cambodia. T-shirts are also available for sale in our Cambodia office. We have seven different sizes, three youth sizes and four adult sizes. When you wear it, it means you have joined us (& others!) to end sexual abuse & human trafficking!

Take a picture wearing the shirt, or if you see others wearing them! Send your photos to us via Cambodia@chabdai.org or post them on our Facebook or Twitter.

27 June 2011

Our Road Trip Across Cambodia!

Last week our Senior Management Team visited our members’ projects across Cambodia to personally present the new Chab Dai Charter with each of them. The Charter is a tool we hope will positively improve projects and raise the standard of care for children, communities, & staff. The overall response we received from the Charter was positive, and we heard many ‘yes!’ statements. It was most of all inspiring to hear project updates from 44 teams working to end trafficking in Cambodia!
In the following months Chab Dai will be working alongside our member organizations & staff to support implementing higher standards via group trainings, policy sharing, and facilitating best practice sharing between members.

“Inspired & motivated by our faith we commit ourselves to raising the standards as we work alongside communities, victims, & survivors; as we work with staff, donors & the government; and as we seek to model best practice.”
[from the Chab Dai Charter Prologue]

Take a look at our Road Trip Journal:
[Day 1: Road Trip] Today we drove across Cambodia, a total of 8 hours, and met with our first member. They agreed to sign up to Chab Dai's Charter committing to excellence (and stamped their approval!). We will continue meeting members all week (50 total!)…
‎[Day 2: Road Trip] Today we have had meetings in 3 different provinces and our car is covered with lots of dirt from driving through muddy potholes. This afternoon we had the opportunity to present certificates to 3 local commune leaders who have committed to protecting the children in their villages from trafficking & abuse!
[Day 3: Road Trip] We’ve now been to 5 provinces, spent 16 hours in the car, had 12 meetings… and … now we are back home in Phnom Penh! Over dinner tonight we all shared how much we are really enjoying one-on-one meetings with members this week. And we are encouraged by the positive feedback we have heard- that thisCharter is a great step forward to raising the standards of care for children and staff in Cambodia. Two more full days of meetings in the city!
[Day 4: Road Trip] Today we spent time sharing about the Chab Dai Charter with 15 members around Phnom Penh. What is the Charter exactly? It's both a set of principles and an implementation tool, that by signing up to, members state their commitment to excellence while working to address sexual exploitation & trafficking in Cambodia!
‎[Day 5: Road Trip] Today was the last day of our road trip and we enjoyed meeting 16 more member organizations! To wrap up the road trip we spent time sharing & praying for our members and the Charter follow-up, and finally… celebrated with a team dinner!

A summary of our week on the road:
5 Days
8 Chab Dai Leaders
869 Kilometers (540 miles) across Cambodia
15 Hours driving in the car
5 Provinces
44 Meetings with Member Organizations
11 Members already committed to the Charter (and many more yes’s!)
Thanks for everyone who followed our live updates on Facebook & Twitter (#50roadtrip). To learn more about Chab Dai visit our website: www.chabdai.org

16 June 2011

Next Week: Road Trip Across Cambodia to Visit 50 Members

Next week in Cambodia, Chab Dai will be traveling across the country to meet with each of our member organizations’ leadership team to launch the Chab Dai Charter and its accompanying Commitment to Excellence Implementation Tool.

Here’s a quick look at our itinerary:

[5 Days, 4 Cities, 2 Cars + 3 Motos, 8 Chab Dai Leaders, and 50 Meetings]
Day 1: We’re starting early on Monday and driving (literally) across the country – to the Northwest region of Cambodia. Meeting #1.
Day 2: After rice & coffee for breakfast, we will join meetings #2 & #3 and then move again- this time to the tourist city of Siem Reap. Meetings #4 & #5.
Day 3: Wake up & join a few early morning meetings (#6, 7, 8, & 9), and then the long 5+ hour drive back to Phnom Penh by evening. (Also today, Meeting #10, 11, & 12!)
Day 4: With a coffee in one hand & the Charter in the other, the team will divide into pairs and cover the city, following a schedule of stacked meetings all day. If each group meets with nearly 5 organizations, let’s do the math: that brings us to Meeting #13-30.
Day 5: Today will be the last day of back-to-back meetings. This will finish the road trip, and Meetings #31-50! We did it!

What is the Chab Dai Charter?
The Chab Dai Charter is a set of principles that aim to raise the standard of care, focusing on the areas of protection, collaboration, participation, and transparency. We believe these four areas best summarize our framework for working together to protect & restore the lives of children & communities in Cambodia. The Commitment to Excellence Implementation Tool outlines action points that reflect these principles in tangible & measurable ways, and are a guide for organizations committed to best practices in working with all stakeholders (children & communities, member organizations, staff & organizational development, donors, and the government).

Follow us next week [20-24 June 2011] across Cambodia!
Every day next week we will be posting photos along the way, and quotes & stories about our journey & meetings with members. You can follow us on our first-ever road trip via Twitter or Facebook:
Twitter: @chabdai (use hashtag #50roadtrip to tweet!)

To learn more about Chab Dai visit our website: www.chabdai.org

03 June 2011

What are we celebrating?

Chab Dai celebrates 6 years of working in Cambodia this week. And here are some reasons why we're celebrating [together]:

Today we celebrate working together as a team in Cambodia for six years.
In 2006, we started with only three staff members using desks inside our partners’ office, and today we have 33 staff members (and our own office with a Resource Library and a Meeting Room space).

Today we celebrate six years of working together with members who share our vision to work together to end sexual abuse & trafficking!
The coalition started with only 12 members back in 2006, and today we have 50 member organizations.

Today we celebrate (with lots of thanks!) our donors, who support and encourage our unique work in Cambodia.
We are proud that for six years our relationships with donors have sustained financial hardships and project proposal trends!

Today we celebrate the projects we have been able to start and implement.
You can read even more about them in our Project Portfolio.

Today we celebrate the children (boys & girls), women, and men who have been impacted by our direct trainings about trafficking prevention and child protection.
We have distributed over 100,000 Help Cards in the provinces, and through our 24/7 referral hotline number we have answered over 200 calls. As well, we celebrate those who have been impacted through others we have trained about social work, project cycle management, child protection, working with boys, etc.

Today we celebrate that the collaborative model that Chab Dai started in Cambodia has now been replicated in the US, Canada, and soon to be in UK.
As of this week (June 2011), we are also launching our Global Learning Community project, which will provide technical support to coalitions that are starting similar models and share our lessons learned globally.

Today Chab Dai Coalition celebrates six years, but we don’t celebrate today alone… we celebrate with ALL of you!
Whether you are one of our members, or you have supported our projects, or have visited our office, or you have been a volunteer, we know that working with you increases our impact and the sustainability of our work, and is totally more effective in bringing about change. We would not be here without you, and we are glad that we are working together with you to end sexual abuse & trafficking!

Learn more about how you can [join with us] @ www.chabdai.org

30 May 2011

Volunteering in Cambodia: A Learning & Humbling Experience

[Chab Dai Cambodia wants to shout a 'THANKS SO MUCH' to Frida, our intern who has been working in our office for the last five months!! She has been influential in writing some of our blog posts, facilitating the "Paperless Child Protection Training", as well as coordinating volunteer requests.
And so, as Chab Dai gives one more round-of-thanks for Frida today, she passes on lessons she's learned & shares how others can volunteer too]
The summer is once again on its way and so is the high season of volunteering. During the last five months I’ve been volunteering through Chab Dai in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and now my time here is sadly coming to its end. It’s been a humbling, fun, exciting and challenging experience, but most of all it has been a time of learning and I hope as I’m leaving I will be able to carry with me everything Cambodia has taught me. I’ve got to know incredible people with great hearts, seen how different organizations work and learned what cultural sensitivity practically means.
Having grown from 12 member organizations to nearly 50 in Cambodia, Chab Dai has seen the emerging opportunity to connect passionate and talented volunteers with organizations needing assistance. The focus of our member projects varies from prevention and education to capacity building and aftercare. Volunteers usually come for a couple of months, but some stay for years. For volunteering to have a lasting impact and be sustainable we require a minimum stay of three weeks, but six months or more is even better.
If YOU want to volunteer and explore the possibilities in which you could join together with organizations already doing great work, here’s how you can apply:
Send an email to volunteer@chabdai.org with the following information:
  1. A completed Volunteer Application form
  2. Your CV/resume with three references
  3. A short introduction of yourself, and in what capacity you are hoping to volunteer
Chab Dai is committed to putting the safety of children first! Therefore, thorough background checks of all applicants are completed. Chab Dai and our members require all volunteers to undergo a criminal background check in their home country and sign a Child Protection Policy.
After you send us your documents we will assess them and process them if you are a good fit with our members’ projects. If so, we’ll send them your contact information. If an organization is interested in receiving you as a volunteer you will be contacted and the hunt for the cheapest flight ticket can begin!
When you consider volunteering, it’s good to think about your motives, your passion and your skill set.
And finally: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J D’Angelo

20 May 2011

Our Largest Member Meeting Ever!

Last week we hosted our twelfth bi-annual Member Meeting with a record 180 stakeholders representing over 45 organizations in Cambodia. Chab Dai Coalition has now grown to 50 members, and as we continue growing there is an opportunity to also push-up from minimum standards to best practice standards! So, our focus this May was encouraging a “Commitment to Excellence” and promoting best practices in four main areas: protection, collaboration, participation, & transparency.

The following are a few reflection following the meeting, from a volunteer who joined Chab Dai for the first time and was especially encouraged by the participants’ joint-vision of ‘joining hands’ with each other!

When I arrived at the large conference room I was in awe to see it full of mostly Cambodian faces… these are the men and women doing the grassroots work of combatting human trafficking.
One of the best features of such a large meeting was the extensive networking, facilitated by a time of Speed Networking [see photo above, right] where we were asked to obtain contact information from five new people. Further connections were encouraged over coffee breaks and lunch.

On the second day of the meeting, we focused on child protection training. We called it the first-ever "Paperless Training" in Cambodia! For the day we were divided into four Khmer groups and one English group. Each group rotated through scenarios acted out by young volunteer actors that focused on a specific child protection issue. The participants engaged in the scenarios by exclaiming “STOP” when they felt the actions demonstrated were inappropriate. After, the person chose either speaking out what should be different or coming forward to take an actor's place. It was definitely a fun day of active learning!

If you didn't follow our live coverage on Twitter or Facebook during the meeting, check out the photos!

Next month Chab Dai’s leaders will be doing a road trip to visit every member, for members who want to commit to excellence, and sign The Chab Dai Charter that was joint-drafted at the meeting.

10 May 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Forum to Address Exploitative Labour Recruitment & Trafficking

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: Malaysian non-government organizations (NGOs) visited today with stakeholders working on issues of exploitative labour recruitment and trafficking. The goal of today’s extraordinary meeting was to discuss collaborative strategies to protect, repatriate, and advocate for Cambodian migrants, in light of the growing number of Cambodian women migrating to Malaysia to work in houses, and the increase of abuse cases in the public newspapers.

Chab Dai Coalition and The Asia Foundation co-hosted the meeting today with over 60 stakeholders representing Cambodian and Malaysian NGOs and other international agencies currently working with victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Today’s meeting welcomed Malaysian partners to present about the legal framework, including the Malaysian ATIP Law (2007); services currently available for Cambodian victims of trafficking; challenges facing organizations with regard to rescues, repatriations, and protection of migrant workers; and especially focused on networking.

Chab Dai’s top priority for supporting the Malaysian NGOs to visit was to facilitate cross- border collaboration and networking. A referral mechanism will be generated as an outcome of the meeting, making case referrals and repatriations more efficient.

Helen Sworn, International Director of Chab Dai said:
“This meeting presents a unique opportunity for us to address this urgent issue through joint learning and collaboration among key stakeholders providing support and services for Cambodian migrant workers. Our hope is to develop a common vision to facilitate a closer referral process between the grass roots organisations in order to ensure better protection for Cambodian migrant workers before departure in Cambodia and after arrival in Malaysia.’’

Liva Sreedharan, representing the ATIP desk of Tenaganita in Malaysia, shared about their increase of labour abuse cases of migrant workers from Cambodia. She said:
“This collaboration and coordination today could not be more perfect timing because of the cases of Cambodian domestic workers coming up now. Tenaganita cannot do it alone.”

Tola Moeun, from CLEC, presented an overview in Cambodia facing migrant workers, specifically domestic workers as they are recruited, trained, and sent to Malaysia for work. About the forum today, he stated:
“The forum today is very important because it brings together multiple stakeholders, and identify who is doing what and in what areas we can work together.”

Long-term and short-term ideas were generated in focus groups, with the goal of committing to continue networking and joint-advocacy between both countries.

Today was an opportunity to share together, and begin developing solutions and problem-solving strategies to protect and empower Cambodian migrant workers in- country and abroad.
Read more about the meeting in the Phnom Penh Post [11 May 2011].

06 May 2011

National Minimum Standards Training in Phnom Penh

Today Chab Dai trainers, Sithy & Sokha, finished a three-day training about the Cambodian government's Policy and Minimum Standards for the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking (2009). Over 28 social workers, house mothers, and project managers working in aftercare programs attended.

Along with Chab Dai, organizations like World Vision, The Asia Foundation, and USAID are supporting & implementing these training workshops to stakeholders across Cambodia this year. The policy includes guidelines to improve victim treatment and protection: outlining the rights of victims, instructions for case management, alternative care options, and the role of staff. Later, monitoring and evaluation strategies will be done by the government to ensure that shelters are operating with best practices.
"It's very helpful!" Sithy exclaimed after the training, "Now they understand more about human trafficking and good standards."
Read more from The Asia Foundation's website about Cambodia's landmark policy, which was passed by the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2009.

26 April 2011

HOPE: [WE] are ending trafficking!

Since 2005, Chab Dai’s vision has been “Christians working together to end sexual abuse & trafficking”. So the question we asked this week to our directors around the world was:
“Do you actually have HOPE that human trafficking is ending?”
And the overpowering response by each was “YES there is HOPE!”
But how could they say yes so confidently you might be asking yourselves? Because of three things: committed people, coordinated people, and people working together.
“There always is!” says Julia, Chab Dai Canada’s Coordinator…
For the past couple of years working in Canada I have met many committed people working against human trafficking who are willing to work together. There was a group of people in Montreal (TIME) who started a group called “Speak Canada”; they made postcards for people to send to the government, to pressure them to write a national strategy for combating human trafficking. This is an example of regular people who are passionateabout ending human trafficking. There is incredible HOPE!”

Helen, International Director & Founder, says confidently, “Yes there is!”…
I wouldn’t be sitting here if there wasn’t HOPE, I would have left a long, long time ago. Collaboration is key because the issue is overwhelming. When I meet 150 people in our member meetings wanting to collaborate and increase their standard of care I can say: yes, there is hope. In the last five years, I have seen huge progress in terms of greater collaboration, better organizational capacity, and a commitment to raising the standard of care for survivors.”
In Cambodia, Yeng (Country Director) also says, “Yes. I have HOPE”…
“One person or one NGO alone cannot put an end to human trafficking. The key is that we need to work together and have the same vision. The thing with human trafficking is that not everyone wants to end it because of the economic benefits people make from it and because of corruption. It is important that the work we do against human trafficking is supported at different governmental levels in the community.”
Joan, Program Director at Chab Dai USA says, "Absolutely… The fact that you are reading this right now means some progress has already been made and there is much more to come!”

Change doesn't take place in isolation. It happens when people join together to make it happen. Mahatama Gandhi didn't act alone, but his passion for India led to its independence. Nelson Mandela' s vision for racial equality revolutionized South Africa and ended apartheid. These are just two examples of people who maintained their HOPE to the very end! The fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery is no different.
Read more about Chab Dai's Core Values on our website.

04 April 2011

Happy Khmer New Year!

Happy Khmer New Year from the Chab Dai Team!
Khmer New Year, or we can say “Bun Chaul Chnam Thmey” in the Khmer language, is the name of one of the biggest Cambodian holidays. The holiday lasts three days and marks the end of the harvesting season, when farmers can enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins. Buddhists in Cambodia always make preparations for the new year by cleaning, mopping and decorating around their houses. They believe the angel “Tevada” will attend their houses and bless them all.

During the three days of celebrations, Cambodian people wake up early every morning to cook traditional foods. Dressed in traditional dress, they take baskets of the prepared foods, fruits & drink to pagodas throughout the country, in order to offer it to their ancestors by praying through monks. At home they also have colorful decorations with lights & flowers, for offering prayers to their ancestors.
Khmer New Year is also a very fun time for Cambodian people of all ages. Street corners are often crowded with friends & families enjoying a break from daily routines, filling their free time with dancing and popular games. Along the road during the daytime, people fill plastic bags with water, and throw them at people who drive or walk along the road. They also sprinkle perfume or baby powder on people for fun.

The third day is the most important and fun. Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water at the pagoda. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future.

Khmer New Year is a great opportunity for students, Chab Dai member staff, and also for children in aftercare shelters to return to their home and visit their family. Please pray for their journey and the sweet time that they can spend celebrating with their families.

21 March 2011

“I Bet you Didn’t Know [This] about Human Trafficking!”

Chab Dai staff from around the globe share “I bet you didn’t know this” facts about human trafficking, based on their work as practitioners on the ground, & through complementary academic research. Human trafficking happens globally, and we are working in the USA, Cambodia, & Canada!

Joan, Chab Dai USA Program Manager, is based in Sacramento where our office has been operational since 2008, she says:
"Did you know that an estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation each year?
Did you know trafficking is one of today's fastest growing criminal industries? Poverty, inequality and gender are factors that increase vulnerability but they, in and of themselves, don't cause trafficking. Just like other industries, human trafficking is a demand-driven market and it touches every nation across the globe, including the United States.”

Helen, Chab Dai International Director, shares from over 10 years of living in Cambodia and being involved with the issue of trafficking:
“Human trafficking is much more complex than most people want to understand. The focus is often on sex trafficking, but for us labor trafficking and migration is as important.
Our work has two major components: prevention and demand. Without targeting the demand, trafficking will never end. Lot of people get confused with prostitution and human trafficking, which creates debates that sometimes aren’t actually addressing human trafficking.
Probably 2% of the prostitutes have chosen their job. My focus is on the 98% who never had a choice.”

Yeng, Chab Dai Cambodia Country Directory, speaks from his experience starting and implementing a grassroots trafficking prevention project across Cambodia:
“In the rural areas in Cambodia the people have little knowledge of human trafficking and they trust people too much, especially those from the cities.
Also many people don’t know about the fact that a lot of boys are being sexually abused in Cambodia.”

Julia, Chab Dai Canada Coordinator, is an advocate to end trafficking and started our office in Montreal in 2009:
Every year 1500 women are brought into Canada as slaves. One thing that surprises a lot of people is that forced marriage is happening in Canada today, especially in the Jewish and Mormon communities.
There was also a recent case outside of Toronto where 19 Hungarian men were bonded in the basement, working 18 hours a day with one meal per day. This is modern slavery happening in our own neighborhood.”

For information about these statistics & thoughts, learn more by downloading our Recommended Reading List, or by contacting us.