Laos: Help for Victims of Human Trafficking

Laos Bildung für Opfer von Menschenhandel

Sengsavang is a Laotian NGO that raises awareness on the issue of human trafficking and rehabilitates and reintegrates victims. For this purpose, Sengsavang operates a shelter in the city of Savannakhet, a main hub of cross-border trafficking to Thailand. With "Okad Tisong" project CO-OPERAID partners with Sengsavang in providing education to girls and women who are victims or at risk of Human Trafficking.

The shelter provides a safe home where the girls and women receive holistic care. In order to allow a sustainable socio-economic reintegration in the Lao society, the shelter offers basic education and vocational training to its residents.

Laos is a primary source country for human trafficking. The process commences with domestic trafficking from remote, impoverished villages (mainly from northern Laos) to border areas such as Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champassak. Women and girls then work in the entertainment sector (bars, karaoke’s, etc.) which often leads to prostitution. Others do exploitative work in factories or domestic labour. Every year hundreds of young women cross the border unaware of the risks of getting into exploitation and modern slavery.

A beneficiary tells


Laos Projekt gegen Menschenhandel

«Together with two other girls I was trafficked to Thailand. A family member promised a job in a massage shop where we would earn 5000 Baht (CHF 150) a month. In Thailand we were forced to have sex with the clients. After two months the police rescued me and sent me back to Laos. I stayed for nine months at the Sengsavang shelter. I went to school and to the tailoring course. With help of the Sengsavang team I filed a complaint against the trafficker. My case is on hold as he could not be found yet.»

Mounthip, human trafficking victim, Laos

Laos Berufsbildung Schneiderei

The project provides vocational trainings in tailoring/sewing, cooking, beauty and agriculture (course duration 5 to 8 months). The shelter offers its own vocational training centre, buildings for agriculture and two shops (hairdressing/beauty; sewing) that allow practical training in businesses. After the training, the beneficiaries receive a certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The project staff supports the girls in finding a job or opening their own shop.

The project provides non-formal education (NFE) at the shelter. NFE allows students to do accelerated studies in primary and/or secondary school (up to grade 9) where the content of a school year is condensed to 3 months. For grades 10-12 the girls can attend a NFE-school close to the shelter. Certificates gained through this program are issued by the Ministry of Education.

Laos Grundbildung für Opfer von Menschenhandel
Laos Team lokales Hilfswerk Sengsavang

Sengsavang provides protection and assistance to victims and girls at risk of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The organisation applies an approach of holistic care and recovery. Sengsavangs activities also include prevention and awareness raising, advocacy and campaigning as well as representation and participation in women's issues at national and international forums.