Post by: So Jin Kim
When the fireworks cracked to celebrate the New Year 2020 and smoked away, I was getting settled in Thailand to begin my winter internship with TLCS Legal Advocate (TLCS). It was a Thai law firm located in the center of Bangkok. The law firm worked mainly to provide legal consultation for corporate businesses, but it was also leading a highly effective pro bono program aimed at combating human trafficking in the fishing industry on the side. It was called the Multi-Stakeholders Initiative for Accountable Supply Chain (MAST), co-founded and currently led by Attorney Dornapha Sukkree (Dorna), who was also the director of TLCS. Working as an intern for MAST, I was able to closely discuss about human trafficking in Thailand with Dorna, as well as with her wide network of NGOs fighting against human trafficking in Thailand. The discussions enlightened me to the practical aspects of not only rescuing the victims from bonded labor or sex trafficking, but also providing them with aftercare, especially compensation.
I was given some compensation cases to research and edit a legal guidebook to prevent bonded labor in the fishing industry. The cases were Thai court orders that were pending to be enforced in the relevant foreign countries where victims or the traffickers were from. The court orders were born out of judgements against the traffickers, requesting compensation for the crime of bonded labor or sex trafficking. I was able to join meetings and do research about how the foreign judgements were enforced and how fighting against human trafficking not only required legal knowledge but also good communication and networking skills with the government institutes, law firms and NGOs. We had to reach out to the foreign law firms in the countries where the compensation case had to be enforced, as well as the local governmental bodies and NGOs that were representing the victims in Thailand.
One of my most memorable experience was attending one meeting with the government officials and the local NGOs representing the victims of sex trafficking and bonded labor. The meeting took full three-hours without a single break. Some of the facts discussed in the meeting involved numerous minor children exploited in brothels around Thailand. While it was heartbreaking to discuss these facts, the decision-makers and caseworkers discussed the challenges and solutions with great concentration. The scene was quite inspiring to behold. It was like as if God was working through the government officials, the NGO workers and our law firm lawyers to enforce His justice for the lost and captured souls.
I was reminded how human trafficking was still very real in our world no matter how many times I try to forward with my life of given freedom. I was grateful and honored to have had a glimpse of God in action in Thailand.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.