Why an article on collaboration?   Well it’s simple, TRAGAST has a huge dream; provide every child in Thailand and eventually the Mekong Region, with effective human trafficking prevention training.   We are working with a fantastic organization called  The Peace Culture Foundation.   Their founder, fearless leader and Rotary Peace Fellow is Dr. Sombat Tapanya.   When I have spoken with him about expanding the training beyond Chiang Mai, he always emphasizes that we will need to work with other organizations to get this done (Collaboration)!
In the world against Human Trafficking there are several types of efforts being done by various organizations.  For example:
a.  Restoration / Aftercare services are provided to survivors in need.
b.  Intervention / Rescue services are efforts to remove those trafficked from their captors.
c.  Prevention services include education and awareness and it is in this area where we work to achieve our amazing goal of providing prevention training to children.
There are many NGO's involved in human trafficking, some are listed on this website.
I have the honor of knowing a group of sister organizations here in Chiang Mai which epitomize collaboration.  The include:
The Whispering Willow  They provide needed services to people rescued from the sex industry.   Services include providing a safe connection through Outreach and Drop-in Center, Emotional, Financial and Spiritual & Community Support, Medical and Restorative Care, Education, Vocational and Small Business training.   They emphasize advocating for other women.
JoJo’s Sanctuary provides Education through scholarships and child protection workshops, Protection through foster care and assistance with citizenship and Empowerment through family strengthening and income generating programs.  They are a project of the Gateway to a New Beginning foundation (formerly known as the Wipe Every Tear Foundation) (which provides temporary housing and employment training and opportunities.
Urban Light provides services to at risk boys and men including education and housing. 
I met with representatives of each organization and another TRAGAST member on the 19th of January.  It was, for me a lesson in wonderment and humility.   These ladies understand collaboration and know full well they must collaborate to succeed. 
  • There is the old adage that prevention is better than cure. But it's not that simple. In my opinion, if you were working in prevention, you will most likely encounter someone in need of protection. Similarly, if you are working in protection, you will need to provide information and prevention activities to stop people from being exploited again in the future.
  • Our organizations focus on exploitation, not just anti-trafficking.Looking at it from that perspective, we all do intervention, but we are not all “anti-trafficking” organizations.
  • The need to collaborate comes from the gap in our services (each organization is a little different.)
  • We refer cases to each other because we know what each organization focuses on and does well, so we work on cases togather.
  • Collaboration means many things; it doesn’t mean you need an MOU to work togather all the time on every case.
  • Grants always want to see collaboration; it saves on resources. For example:
- Gateway covers food / housing.
- JoJo’s covers education.
- Whispering Willow covers counseling.
  • Collaboration can mean
- Asking for advice on difficult cases.
- Reference Resources and Tools
- Informing other organizations about grant opportunities
- Referring clients to organizations who can better meet their needs
  • Being aware of and willing to reach out to other prevention organizations. For example:
- One Sky Foundation
- Hug Project
- Illuminate
- Peace Culture Foundation
  • Collaboration doesn’t require you to do everything the same.Collaboration does require that we must have the same heart for helping people.
My feeling is that if this attitude were to permeate larger NGO’s a lot more could be done with far fewer resources!   It is truly an honor and a privilege to know these incredible people!
Jerry Nelson
Director, Thailand Coordinator