HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium visits children victims of abuse and trafficking in Thailand
BANGKOK, March 21, 2013 – Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Mathilde of Belgium today visited The Kredtrakarn Protection and Occupational Development Centre (Baan Kredtrakarn), a government-run temporary shelter that provides protection and services for hundreds of women and girls who have been victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
HRH Princess Mathilde is visiting Thailand together with her husband, HRH Prince Philippe, and a Belgian Economic Mission delegation. The mission, which is taking place between March 17-22, is aimed at promoting Belgium economic interests and strengthening bilateral ties between Belgium and Thailand.
During her visit to Baan Kredtrakarn, HRH Princess Mathilde, also the Honorary President for Belgium National Committee for UNICEF and for many years the Special Representative for UNICEF and UNAIDS on children and HIV/AIDS, learned about the current situation of child trafficking and other social problems affecting women and girls in Thailand. Accompanied by Santi Promphat, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security, and other senior government officials, HRH Princess Mathilde met with several girls from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos who had been victims of physical and sexual abuse, forced labour, begging and prostitution.
Currently, Kredtrakarn is home to 244 girls and 19 women, nearly half of them are from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. Most of the girls are victims of trafficking.
During the visit to Baan Kredtrakarn, HRH Princess Mathilde observed vocational training classes for the women and girls, including basket weaving, arts and crafts, dress-making and traditional Thai massage. The centre provides medical care and psychosocial support as well as legal assistance against traffickers. The centre also has a programme that helps reintegrate women and girls who have been trafficked back into their families and communities either in Thailand or in neighboring countries.
UNICEF provided direct and indirect assistance to improve services at Baan Kredtrakarn between 2003-2011, and with funding from the Manchester United Foundation supported the construction of a gymnasium at the centre in 2005 that is now being used for a variety of recreational activities. In 2010 and 2011, UNICEF also supported Friends International, a non-governmental organization, to provide informal education and life skills activities for the children at the shelter.
This is the second visit that HRH Princess Mathilde has made to Baan Kredtrakarn since her initial trip in 2001. Over the past decade, she has witnessed several developments and improvements at the centre.
For more information, please contact
Nattha Keenapan, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9478 or 086 616 7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org