“I was very scared when I was part of the traffic in Thailand and living with others I had never met before. I was worried that I was not safe and had no food to eat.
The Thai police arrested me and my mother too. They sent me to the Ban Phum Veth children’s counter and sent my mother to jail. I spent there eight months, later they sent me to Cambodia, to Poipet and then they sent me here.
This place (the reception center) is very important to me because they help me, they give me food and a house to sleep in. If they don’t help me I don’t know where to go and I would die because I was sold by my parents and I am a victim of child trafficking in Thailand.
I am very happy to live here because I have a house to stay in, I have enough food to eat, I can go to school, I have friends to play and learn with.
I like swimming, playing football, tennis and jumping.
When I grow up I want to be an auto mechanic and also repair planes.
My dream is to live with my parents, my sister and my brother.”
Ravi* is a 5-year-old boy (roughly because we don’t know his date of birth) and was born in Thailand. He has a brother and a sister: the mother is in prison.
Ravi lived with his father in Thailand where, in order to get money to survive, he begged every day at the market. He never went to school, because he was always forced to work (beg) to survive.
Ravi recalls that he was often hungry, because there was not enough money to buy the necessary food. One day his parents sold him to a trafficker, who made him work at the Bangkok market. There he was arrested, like his mother, and then sent to a child shelter in Bangkok, where he lived for eight months. Finally, he was sent to the reception center in Poipet, where he now lives and which Mani Tese supports with an international cooperation project.
In Poipet he resides in a safe and peaceful place, where he receives everything he needs to live. He has a sleeping place and is served healthy and nutritious meals. He receives medical care, psychological assistance and attends educational activities. He is part of a program that traces and evaluates the families of origin of the children staying at the center, to verify the possibility of reintegration into the family unit. He attends the informal education program every day.
*Ravi is not the child’s real name, which was omitted to protect his privacy.