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Recycled Children

November 16, 2010

Our PartnersAlezandra Russell, a D.C. native, visited Thailand with SOLD in the summer of 2009 to discover the various social and geographic aspects of child exploitation in Thailand.  We’ve written before about how Alex was struck most by the young boys working the Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai’s Red Light district.  At that time, she wrote:

Walk along Chiang Mai’s Tapei Gate Road towards the Night Bazaar and you would never think such a country was named Land of the Free. Here is where girls, boys and child beggars mix among sex tourists, pimps and exploiters who are here only to barter and sell our most valuable resource to the highest bidder. The faces, the bare skin, and the nasty excuses given to me by the sex tourists would lead me to my next journey, a venture like no other I had ever dared to explore.

When she returned home, Alex quit her job in D.C. and began a non-profit organization called The Recycled Child Project.  RCP is dedicated to refurbishing, rebuilding, and recycling the lives of boys who are victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation by reaching out to them with basic needs, such as shelter, food, education, and help finding employment.

Alex’s journey with RCP began with one particular young boy working the Night Bazaar.  Remembering, Alex writes:

Nine months ago, as I sat alone at a table within the thick of the red light district, there was one boy who approached me with expressions of curiosity & concern on his young face.  Curious as to why I was sitting in the boy bars & concerned that I was lost, “Oi” sat down and began mumbling in his broken English, “No good, no good.” It was obvious that my being there was “no good,” but I stood my ground and, to his annoyance, ordered us two orange juices. As he reluctantly drank his non-alcoholic beverage, a sudden friendship began to take form. Little did I know it would be that night which would dictate the next nine months of my life.

Take a few minutes to meet Oi in the video below. You will be moved. You will be inspired.  Oi’s is just one story that is like so many of the young sex workers in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Bangkok. Oi was trafficked by poverty, his father’s need for more money and inability to afford Oi’s education.  Unfortunately, Oi’s little sister met the same fate when her father recently sold her at a young age; she is currently missing.

The story of Oi and his little sister are preventable.  Everyday, SOLD works to prevent stories like theirs from ever taking place by offering at-risk children the chance to stay in school and take advantage of resources that will help them succeed.  And we’re honored to be in the fight with friends and peers like Alex Russell.

Learn more at recycledchildproject.org. Follow RCP onTwitter at @recycledchild and became a fan on Facebook.

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