Before coming to work at ‘Not For Sale,’ I spent a fair amount of time researching human trafficking and modern day slavery, reading everything I could get my hands on. This is not an easy topic to read about every day, and often the stories I heard will leave people more overwhelmed with the enormity of this issue than hopeful for the work that is being done and the progress that is, slowly but surely, being made.
During a particularly overwhelming day last week, where I could feel the hopelessness slowly creeping up, I went to the news section of Not For Sale’s website in search of an uplifting story to keep me going. Luckily, stories filled with hope and rehabilitation are frequent around here, and it didn’t take long before I stumbled on a news update from Thailand entitles, ‘Stateless Young Man Receives Lifesaving Medial Care.” The article shares the story of Kru Nam, a local abolitionist who Not For Sale has been working with since 2009. Kru Nam works with stateless individuals in Thailand who are not recognized as citizens by the government and therefore not able to receive the education and healthcare that is free to Thai nationals. Often these people have fled to Thailand due to war and poverty in their country. However, because they were not born in Thailand and do not have citizenship, they remain in poverty.
In 2009, Not For Sale facilitated the donation of $1.9 million worth of medical supplies to the hospital, local government, and Not For Sale Thailand. Since this time, 535 people have been treated, and an additional 13,000 have been visited in their homes for medical care and check-ups.
“Alak (20) was born into a minority tribal group along the southern border and was forced to flee when his village was caught in the middle of an on-going battle between the Burmese army and a local militia. His family arrived in Mae Sai when he was 6-year-old. Earlier this year, Alak was stabbed during a drunken altercation in Myanmar and his friends took him to the government hospital. As a stateless person, Alak’s safety and human rights are often ignored but doctors kindly agreed to treat him given his critical condition. While in the emergency room, he was informed that he had lost a lot of blood and would die if he didn’t receive a blood transfusion. The only blood available was infected with malaria but given the option of dying or catching malaria, Alak chose to receive the transfusion and then used his meager savings to buy the expensive malaria medication.”
The medication and supplies are also being used at the drop-in centre, where stateless people can go for medical check-ups and washing facilities. They are also offering daycare and drug rehabilitation for the women.