The story behind the foundation:
While traveling through Northern Thailand in 2002, two women, Jane McBride and Patricia Zinkowski, discovered fifteen girls living in an abandoned school in the village of Doi Luang. The girls had little adult supervision and were trying to survive as best they could in an area known for human trafficking agents. The situation was extremely worrying.
Jane and Patty provided financial assistance and made a promise to the girls of Doi Luang that they would not forget them. They later returned to Thailand with a camera and made a documentary about the girls’ stories and life in their villages. Each girl had a tragic story to tell. Many were AIDS orphans or had parents in prison. Most lacked ID cards, leaving them “stateless” and highly vulnerable to traffickers. Something had to be done to protect them before it was too late.
The solution was to provide them with safe shelter, education and support. Friends and family pitched in until Friends of Thai Daughters was incorporated as a non-profit in 2005. For the past decade, FTD has helped protect and educate dozens of girls and young women through our family-scale program. In 2015, we purchased our first Sunflower House in Chiang Rai. In 2016, we expanded to city of Chiang Khong, located on the Laos border, and have plans to establish three more Sunflower Houses throughout the Golden Triangle region. Each House is a family with up to 15 girls living with a housemother in a safe, secure and loving environment.
A Thai Epidemic
Within Thailand, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the main hubs for sex trafficking. Women and girls can be lured into trafficking in multiple ways. Often traffickers go to rural and impoverished villages and promise girls and their families that they will be taken to the city to start jobs as waitresses or maids.Traffickers tell the families stories about all the money their daughter will make and the different opportunities she will have.Traffickers will even make a “down payment” on the girl and pay parents for their daughters before they take them.
An Effective Method to Fight Trafficking
FTD is a prevention program, focusing its efforts on ethnic hill tribe girls in Northern Thailand who are at-risk of being trafficked due to extreme poverty, lack of legal status, being orphaned or having parents in jail. FTD focuses its efforts on the most vulnerable girls in Northern Thailand. While many NGOs provide support and services for a short number of years, the FTD model provides shelter, support and education through college and beyond. FTD daughters enter the program as vulnerable children and emerge as empowered adults.