The Road Ahead for RAGAS

By Jerry Nelson

As I reported in my first Thailand Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) article, the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery is basically grouped in three categories: prosecution, protection; and, prevention. Worldwide, RAGAS is involved in all aspects of the war against the human disgrace that is modern slavery/human trafficking. Here in Thailand, the RAGAS team has chosen to focus on prevention, especially with children.

July was a month of 90% preparation and 10% presentation as we prepare to create projects that will teach children, their teachers, and their parents about human trafficking and what they can do to protect themselves.

RAGAS presentations are designed to get Rotary Clubs and other organizations involved. On July 27th I had the distinct pleasure to speak to the Rotary Club of Mae Chan. Representatives of other Northern Clubs were present, including the Rotary Club of Mae Sai. There was great participation and challenging questions. I look forward to working with these wonderful Rotarians as we develop projects in the North.  

We will make a similar presentation at CMIRC on Tuesday 18 August. We are looking forward to the opportunity and are confident there will be interest.

Projects on the horizon include:

  • We will present to a small Christian Church on Sunday 16 August. We are confident that this will lead to training of their children and hopeful that the effort will spread to other Christian communities.

  • The Thammarat School Wat Phrasing in Chiang Mai, where we will integrate awareness training into their 7th and 8th grade (Mattayom 1 & 2) English classes.  Native English speakers in Chiang Mai are needed for this project.

  • We are planning an awareness/fundraising event in Chiang Mai. Details and exact dates may be available soon.  

  • We are planning an awareness /fundraising event in Chiang Rai. Exact dates and details may be available soon.

  • Freedom Ride! We are organizing a bicycle ride to raise awareness of the fight against human trafficking. The time frame is May of 2021. Hopefully we will ride across Thailand North to South and East to West!

Specific Help Wanted (Contact me if you are interested):

  1. We will need vetted Native English speakers in Chiang Mai to help with the project at Thammarat School, Wat Phrasing.

  2. Rotarians and Rotary Clubs will be given an opportunity to participate in all of the events we are creating. Without your help, we cannot help the endangered children.  

  3. We are meeting with Rotary Clubs in preparation of choosing partners for larger projects, including Global Grants. 

Knowledge is our best weapon against slavery.  To that end I offer you three links, none of which are “puff pieces”; all of which are very educational:   

End Human Trafficking Nowhttps://endhtnow.org/  Play the extremely powerful video.  Discusses what Rotary can do and will do!!

Smithsonian Magazine article about slaves from Thailand in Los Angeles California:    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/20th-century-slavery-california-sweatshop-was-hiding-plain-sight-180975441/?fbclid=IwAR3XAiB_v-EKQr_VdugmCBm4RUxoFydtxw9D0QjMT6gShv_iiC8g6u-Nv14

Preventing Human Trafficking in Rotary District 5180 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=yctPRrwPJf8&feature=emb_title    This excellent video explains a Rotary Global Grant that we can use as a model here in Thailand and throughout the region.

In case you missed it, last month I recommended learning from Matt Friedman of the Hong Kong-based Mekong Club. He has made very powerful speeches that are available on Youtube. He also has a new book called “Be The Hero: Be The Change” which is available on Kindle. I highly recommend them all!

Feedback on this article will be appreciated. Who is interested in ending human trafficking/modern slavery?  What can you do to help? How can we help you? I cannot defeat slavery. That is a fact. However, together we can! 

Editor's note:  Jerry Nelson is the RAGAS Coordinator for Thailand, Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Ending Trafficking and an Honorary Member of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club. Contact him at jnelson.ragas@gmail.com

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