Peace Boat, a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace and human rights through a study program via ocean voyages, invited ECPAT International to facilitate a workshop in Phuket for its participants on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Thailand.
The workshop was attended by approximately 50 participants of Peace Boat. The workshop aimed to create a better understanding of the different manifestations of CSEC: prostitution of children, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, and child pornography, and what actions have taken place by the Thai government and NGOs, especially initiatives by The Code and ECPAT.
After the workshop, the participants held a meeting the next day to discuss what actions they could do and decided to hold a “workshop” base on the one in Phuket for other participants of the Peace Boat (the boat has about a thousand passengers/participants).
Leading up to their workshop, a showing of the Japanese movie, “The Children of Darkness” took place to stir discussion (the movie focuses on the prostitution and trafficking of children in Thailand). Then the participants held their own workshop to approximately another 80-100 participants, which was divided into smaller groups to encourage discussions.
For example, one male participant shared that he worked in the tourism industry in Bangkok about 10 years ago, and he shared how many Japanese tourists came to ask “where they can play” as he was a front desk personnel. He admitted his ignorance to the issue then, but shared that he was encouraged that more people are aware, talking about the issues, and can clear action against the crimes by reporting now.