One Sunday in March at church, our congregation broke form the sermon format and invited guest speakers to talk about something I'd never heard on a Sunday morning before, child prostitution in Thailand. Considering the subject, our guests, Rachel Goble and Tawee Donchai, put us at ease. They were sympathetic but matter of fact about the exploitation of human trafficking. They represented The Sold Project, a non-profit founded in 2007, which works at finding and preventing children from ever going into prostitution.
Education in Thailand is an expensive privilege. Young girls in Thai culture are expected to earn money for their families. Girls as young as 11 often leave home to work in "restaurants." Many of them are gone about a year prostituting, return home, and die of AIDS.
Located at 3037-T Hopyard Road, in Pleasanton, (I had walked past their office many times on my way into Peet's Coffee and Tea.) Sold raises money for scholarships that go to girls with the most risk factors for being swept into prostitution, namely poverty, a lack of education, and the absence of positive role models.
In addition to scholarships, Sold offers mentorships, a resource center for the community, and a Human Trafficking Awareness Program in the center for the entire community to attend at their parent meetings. These meetings teach and open discourse about human trafficking and prostitution. For more information about The Sold Project, go to www.thesoldproject.com.