“An AAT agent of change was directly responsible for protecting a Lao girl who had been coerced into prostitution. After having participated in the “Women Across Borders” project, she went back home and distributed AAT’s phone number to girls in her village that she estimated were in a potentially dangerous situation as they were traveling to Vientiane to look for a job. When she realised that she was being lured into a brothel in Vientiane instead of the restaurant where she was promised for a job, one of the girls the agent had connected with, called AAT who rescued her.”
Women Across Borders project
The Women Across Borders (WAB) is a regional project created and supported by AAT in order to empower women and girls both socially and financially. The project, accessible to former victims and other vulnerable girls and women, enables beneficiaries to become agents of change and to achieve financial independence.
Women Across Borders location
The project currently consists of:
- Two ASEAN Women centres: Job orientation centres in Thailand connected to a network of small enterprises in the business sector
- Made In Mekong social enterprise: A coffee shop with vocational training and empowerment activities as well as a job orientation centre connected to a network of small enterprises in the business sector based in Vientiane, Laos
- Community-based vocational training and career alternatives in Mong Ywang and Kengtung connected to a network of small enterprises in the business sector in Chiang Rai
- Social reintegration actions and empowerment inside three Government Protection and Occupational Development centres in Nakorn Rachassima, Phitsanulok and near Bangkok.
Women Across Borders activities
The Women Across Borders project covers three aspects of beneficiary empowerment:
- It enables the rehabilitation of victims and assists in rebuilding self-esteem, self-confidence and self-value through therapies implemented inside Thai government shelters, and by taking them outside the shelters to do other activities to prepare while they are waiting for their repatriation to prepare them for social reintegration.
- It builds the capacity of beneficiaries to access to education and career alternatives. The project supports beneficiaries until they can become financially independent. Beneficiaries can choose learning a skill, or employment in one of the networks of businesses created by AAT, or establishing micro-projects inside their communities. Actions are undertaken under the ASEAN Women centres, the Made In Mekong social enterprise and community based work in Shan State.
- Capacity building for beneficiaries to enable them to become agents of change. AAT gives them training in leadership, rights, legal protection as well as how to detect and notify cases so that beneficiaries engaged themselves in actions to protect others. Actions are undertaken inside Thai government shelters, via the ASEAN Women centres, and the Made In Mekong social enterprise.